Tag: Rome

Pope Francis: The Immaculate is the Fruit of the Love of God

Pope Francis: The Immaculate is the Fruit of the Love of God

Pope Francis to students: Respond to the Challenges of the Time

Pope Francis to students: Respond to the Challenges of the Time

Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye

Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye is an Institute in Kerala, India, which is predominantly an inter-ritual Faculty. One can learn theological and philosophical discipline as well as culture, heritage and tradition of the Kerala Church. “The Pontifical Institute, Alwaye” was erected by the Holy See at Alwaye, Kerala State, India in 1972. On 15th February 1973, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye, was officially inaugurated by His Excellency, the Most Rev.Dr.John Gordon, then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India. On 25th April 1997, through a decree the Congregation for Catholic Education separated the Pontifical Institute from the Pontifical Seminary. At present the Pontifical Institute functions at two separate campuses – Mangalapuzha and Carmelgiri, and offers simultaneously courses of theology and philosophy in both campuses. It is entrusted to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council and is under the overall supervision of the Congregation for Catholic Education. It has at present the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and may open new Faculties with the approval of the Holy See.

A Brief History of  The Pontifical Institute of Theology & Philosophy, Alwaye

The Beginnings

The Carmelite Missionaries, who were sent to Malabar by Pope Alexander VII, started a small Seminary at Verapoly in 1682 for the formation of both the Latin and the Syrian clergy.  Due to the lack of conveniences the Seminary at Verapoly was shifted to the new buildings at Puthenpally in 1866.  In 1888, the Seminary at Puthenpally was constituted the Major Central Seminary for the whole of Malabar, and was placed under Congregation of Evangelization of Peoples.  Owing to the increase in the number of students, a new Seminary with better accommodation was built at Mangalapuzha, Alwaye.  The new Seminary was officially inaugurated on 28th January 1933.  The increase in the priestly  vocations  necessitated  further extension.  On 24th November 1955  the new philosophical college at Carmelgiri was solemnly blessed and inaugurated by His Excellency Most Rev.Martin Lucas, then Apostolic Internuncio to India.  In 1964 the Seminary was raised to the ‘Pontifical’ status by the Holy See.  On June 12,1976, the direction and administration of the Pontifical Seminary was entrusted to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council.

Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy

  The first step towards the realization of the plan for a Faculty had been taken on October 7, 1959, when the Congregation issued a decree affiliating the theology department of the Seminary with the Lateran University, Rome.  With this, the theology department of the Seminary became “Studium Theologicum” which was governed by norms given by the University and a convention between the Rector of the Lateran University and the Rector of the Seminary.  In April 1971, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council sent a petition to the Congregation for the erection of an autonomous Faculty.  On February 24, 1972, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued the decree erecting the Theological Faculty in the Pontifical Seminary.  The decree granted the new Faculty all the rights and privileges which were enjoyed by Theological Faculties.  It also empowered the Faculty to confer suitable degrees to students who are successful in their studies and research.  The power of conferring the degrees of Bachelor and Master (Licentiate) in theology was explicitly granted.  On 15th February 1973, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye, was officially inaugurated by His Excellency, the Most Rev.Dr.John Gordon,  then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India.  On 25th April 1997, through a decree the Congregation for Catholic Education separated the Pontifical Institute from the Pontifical Seminary.  At present the Pontifical Institute functions at two separate campuses – Mangalapuzha and Carmelgiri, and offers simultaneously courses of theology and philosophy in both campuses.

Patron of the Institute

Saint Joseph

Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, “Yosef”; Greek: Ἰωσήφ) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband ofMary the mother of Jesus and the guardian of Jesus. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodoxand Anglican Christian traditions he is regarded as Saint Joseph.

The Pauline epistles, generally considered the earliest extant Christian records, make no reference to Jesus’ father; nor does the Gospel of Mark, generally considered the first of the gospels.[2] The first appearance of Joseph is therefore in the gospels of Matthew andLuke. Each contains a genealogy of Jesus tracing his ancestry back to King David, but the two are from different sons of David; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke follows a minor line from Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew “Jacob was the father of Joseph,” while according to Luke, Joseph, or possibly Jesus, is said to be “of Heli.” Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph’s major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary’s minor line.[3][4]


The Institute is entrusted with “the task of preparing with special care students for the priestly ministry for teaching the sacred sciences, and for the more arduous task of the Apostolate”. It is also the task of the Institute “to explore more profoundly the various areas of the sacred disciplines so that day by day a deeper understanding of the Sacred Revelation will be developed, the heritage of Christian wisdom handed down by our ancestors will be plainly brought into view.


The Institute erected by the Holy See at Alwaye, Kerala State, India, shall be called “The Pontifical Institute, Alwaye”. It functions in St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary Mangalapuzha and Camelgiri. It is entrusted to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council and is under the overall supervision of the Congregation for Catholic Education. It has at present the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and may open new Faculties with the approval of the Holy See.

Academic Degrees 

According to the Statutes drawn up for the Faculty, the institutional cycle leading to the degree of Bachelor of  Theology consists of two stages.  The first stage comprises three years of Philosophy with languages and subsidiary subjects on Religion and Social Sciences.  A Diploma in Philosophy used to be given to the students who successfully completed this course.  On 1st October 1974 the Congregation for Catholic Education issued a decree authorising the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy  to confer the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. At present the Institute is empowered to confer the following degrees:

1) Bachelor of Philosophy

2) Bachelor of Theology

3) Master of Theology

4) Doctor of Theology

The degree of Bachelor of Philosophy is conferred on those who  successfully complete the three years course in Philosophy.  Those students who hold a University Degree prior to their joining the Institute can follow a two year cylce leading to the Degree of Bachelor in Philosophy. The degree of Bachelor of Theology is conferred on those who successfully complete the three and a half years course in Theology.  The degree of Master of Theology is conferred on those who successfully complete the four semesters of specialization in a prescribed branch of Theology. At present Spiritual Theology, Dogmatic Theology,  Pastoral Theology & Counselling and Biblical Theology are offered by the Institute as branches of specialization.The degree of Doctor of Theology is conferred after two semesters of the doctoral course and on fulfilment of the conditions stipulated by the Institute.


Mangalapuzha, P.B. No.1, Alwaye
Kerala, India – 683 102
Phone  :  0484-2606745
E-mail  :  info@mangalapuzha.org

Mangalapuzha Campus, Aluva 683102  

Tel:  0484-2606745,  2606746
Fax:  0484-2604729

E-mail: mangalapuzhaseminary@gmail.com

Website: http://www.mangalapuzha.org

Carmelgiri Campus, Aluva  683102 

 Tel:  0484-2604120,  2606632
Fax:  0484-2606520

E-mail: carmelgirialuva@gmail.com

Website: http://www.carmelgiri.com

Click here for the Official Website of Pontifical Institute

Fr Joy Thottankara MCBS with Pope Francis

Fr Joy Thottankara is an active Pro-life promoter and the founder of First Tabernacle, an MCBS center of the Ministry of Pro-life. He is the First MCBS priest who could make a personal visit to Pope Francis.


Fr Joy Thottamkara
First Tabernacle
UC College PO
Kerala, India-683102

0091 9447667566

0091 8129239125

0091 484 2608620

Click here for the Official site of First Tabernacle

Corpus Christi Adoration for the Faith Year വിശ്വാസ വർഷ ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ ആരാധന

Here  is  the circular of the KCBC President His Grace Most Reverend Dr. Mar Andrews Thazhath regarding the observation of a Holy Hour on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2013. His Holiness Pope Francis invites the Cathedrals and parishes around the world to join in an hour of Eucharistic Adoration as part of the Year of Faith, on Sunday, 2 June 2013, at 5:00 pm Rome Time (8.30pm Indian Time). The Holy Father will preside an hour of Eucharistic Adoration in St. Peter’s Basilica in communion with all the bishops of the world and their local diocesan communities. “The universal scope of this moment is to be a gesture of spiritual sharing.”

In this context, KCBC Executive Committee decided to extend this initiative to all our parishes, monasteries, convents and institutions and it would be a grace filled hour of solidarity with our Holy Father to share in adoration during the same hour as in Rome.

Corpus Christi Adoration for the Faith Year

വിശ്വാസ വർഷ ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ ആരാധന


The Holy Father has asked that this time of Eucharistic Adoration be offered in particular:

1. For the Church dispersed throughout the world, gathered today as a sign of unity in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Lord makes her ever more obedient in listening to his word to present her to the world as ever “more glorious, without speck or wrinkle, but holy and faultless” (Eph. 5:28). By means of its faithful proclamation, may this saving word resound once more as the bearer of mercy and may it stimulate a renewed commitment of love, to provide pain and suffering with full meaning and to re-establish joy and peace.

2. For all of those who, in different parts of the world, live the suffering of new forms of slavery and who are victims of wars, of the trafficking of human beings, of drugs, of ‘slave’ labour, for children and women who suffer any form of violence. May their silent cry for help find the Church alert, so that, with her eyes fixed upon Christ Crucified, she may not forget so many of her brothers and sisters left at the of mercy of violence.

For all those, too, who find themselves in economic insecurity, especially the unemployed, the elderly, immigrants, the homeless, those in prison, and the marginalised; may the prayer of the Church and her active endeavours to be close to them be a source of comfort to them, of support to their hope, of strength and courage in defending the dignity of the person.

Each particular Church, attentive to its own particular needs, is encouraged to put forward other intentions in harmony with this appeal of the Holy Father

Pope Francis I

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Born in Argentina, Pope Francis is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the first Jesuit.

“It seems my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world” to choose a pope, he told the crowd in St Peter’s Square in his first address – a joke which belied his image as the cardinal who never smiles.

Up until 13 March, he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires.

Analists did not see him as a favourite for the job of succeeding Benedict XVI and his advanced age – at 76, he is just two years younger than Benedict at the time of his election in 2005 – may have surprised those expecting a younger man as the 266th Pope.

However, he appeals to both Church conservatives and reformers, being seen as orthodox on sexual matters, for instance, but liberal on social justice – through far from being a “liberation theologist”.

Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis I

Humble lifestyle

He was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent.

According to his official Vatican biography, he was ordained as a Jesuit in 1969 and went on to study in Argentina and Germany.

Who are the Jesuits?

  • The Society of Jesus is a male order of the Catholic Church, with 19,000 members worldwide
  • It was established in 16th Century Europe as a missionary order and members swear vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
  • The order became so powerful that it was suppressed at the end of the 18th Century but later restored
  • Have reputation as expert communicators

He became a bishop in 1992 and Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. At the 2005 conclave, he was seen as a contender for the papacy.

His election took many by surprise in his home city, where many had thought his age ruled him out, says the BBC’s Marcia Carmo in Buenos Aires.

But any surprise soon gave way to the jubilant blaring of car horns on the streets.

As Cardinal Bergoglio, his sermons always had an impact in Argentina and he often stressed social inclusion, indirectly criticising governments that did not pay attention to those on the margins of society, our correspondent says.

Francesca Ambrogetti, who co-authored a biography of him, told Reuters news agency that part of his public appeal lay in his “sober and austere” humble lifestyle.

“That’s the way he lives,” she said. “He travels on the underground, the bus, when he goes to Rome he flies economy class.”

In Buenos Aires, he lived in a simple flat in the building of the Archdiocese.

When in Rome, BBC Latin America analyst Eric Camara writes, he often preferred to keep his black robe on, instead of the cardinal’s red and purple vest he is entitled to wear.

He is also said to have re-used the cardinal’s vest used by his predecessor.

According to a profile in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, when he was appointed a cardinal in 1998, he urged Argentines not to travel to Rome to celebrate but to give their money to the poor instead.


‘Balancing force’

According to Ms Ambrogetti, he is a moderate in all things.

“He is absolutely capable of undertaking the necessary renovation without any leaps into the unknown,” she said.

“He would be a balancing force. He shares the view that the Church should have a missionary role, that gets out to meet people… a church that does not so much regulate the faith as promote and facilitate it.”

For the Church establishment, it will be a novelty to have a Jesuit in charge – members are supposed to avoid ecclesiastical honours and serve the Pope himself.

Continue reading the main story

Pope Francis

  • Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 (age 76) in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent
  • Ordained as a Jesuit in 1969
  • Studied in Argentina, Chile and Germany
  • Became Cardinal of Buenos Aires in 1998
  • Seen as orthodox on sexual matters but strong on social justice
  • First Latin American and first Jesuit to become pope, the 266th to lead the Church

As a Jesuit, he is a member of perhaps the most powerful and experienced religious order of the Catholic Church, known as expert communicators, writes David Willey, the BBC’s Rome correspondent.

It appears that few who know him doubt his conservative credentials.

This is how Monsignor Osvaldo Musto, who was at seminary with him, described him in a BBC News article back in 2005: “He’s as uncompromising as Pope John Paul II, in terms of the principles of the Church – everything it has defended regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion, the right to life, human rights, celibacy of priests.”

His views have been put to the test in Argentina, the first Latin American country to legalise same-sex marriage with a President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who promotes free contraception and artificial insemination.

When he argued that gay adoptions discriminated against children, the president said his tone harked back to “medieval times and the Inquisition”.

However, she welcomed the election to the papacy of a fellow countryman, noting his choice of name appeared to be “in reference to St Francis of Assisi, the saint of the poor” and boded well for unifying “all humans as equal, with fellowship, with love, with justice and equity”.

Aside from his universal significance, the former cardinal appears to be a strong Argentine patriot, telling Argentine veterans of the Falklands War at a Mass last year: “We come to pray for all who have fallen, sons of the Homeland who went out to defend their mother, the Homeland, and to reclaim what is theirs.”

Junta years

One subject of controversy is his role under the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976-1983, and particularly the abduction of two Jesuits secretly jailed by the military government, suspicious of their work among slum-dwellers.

As the priests’ Provincial Superior at the time, he was accused of having failed to shield them from arrest. It is a charge his office flatly denies.

Quoting his official biographer, Sergio Rubin, AP news agency writes in its profile of the new Pope: “Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them. His intervention likely saved their lives.”

Another accusation levelled against him from the “Dirty War” era is that he failed to follow up a request to help find the baby of a woman kidnapped when five months’ pregnant pregnant and killed in 1977. It is believed the baby was illegally adopted.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1973 Here is Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a priest in 1973

The cardinal testified in 2010 that he had not known about baby thefts until well after the junta fell – a claim relatives dispute.

“Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies,” said the baby’s aunt, Estela de la Cuadra. “He doesn’t face this reality and it doesn’t bother him.”

Like other Latin American churchmen of the time, he had to contend, on the one hand, with a repressive right-wing regime and, on the other, a wing of his Church leaning towards political activism on the left.

During Argentina’s economic crisis of 2001, Cardinal Bergoglio protested at police brutality during the unrest which saw President Fernando de la Rua swept from power.

“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” he was quoted as saying by the National Catholic Reporter at a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007.

“The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”

One issue for the Vatican may be the state of the new pope’s health. He lives with only one lung, since having the other removed as young man because of an infection. Nonetheless, he is said to be in good shape.

He is said to be a football fan, supporting Buenos Aires team San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Life without Luxury

With Bergoglio, they have elected an unpretentious, down-to-earth man who is close to the people. Instead of using the luxury sedan supplied to bishops, he uses public transportation. Rather than living in the bishop’s residence, he has a simple apartment. He even does his own grocery shopping and cooking. And, at meetings of the cardinals, he prefers to sit in the second row rather than the first.

In 2005, Bergoglio waved his candidacy to become pope, which benefited Joseph Ratzinger, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI. In the third round of voting, up to 40 cardinals reportedly chose Bergoglio. With roughly one-third of cardinals supporting him, Bergoglio could have theoretically blocked any other candidate. But by withdrawing from the running he ultimately allowed Ratzinger’s election.

Quiet and Media-Shy

Bergoglio is thought to be quiet and media-shy, but his rare public pronouncements carry enormous weight in his home country. He avoids politics and takes on injustices such as corruption, poverty and inequality with clear statements.

But Bergoglio had hardly been identified as a favorite in recent weeks, having already failed to be selected back in 2005. His health has also been an issue. Since childhood he has struggled with lung problems, and after a fierce bout of the flu in 2005, he made a slow recovery. During the last conclave, critics said he lacked adequate passion to take on the position.

Still, Bergoglio must have been seen as a viable candidate back then, because his opponents brought forward all manner of allegations against him. Just three days after the conclave began, a lawyer pressed charges against the Buenos Aires archbishop for allegedly acting as an accomplice in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests in 1976. Bergoglio was repeatedly accused of failing to take an appropriate position during Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. He denies all such charges to this day.

One of five children, Bergoglio was born on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, the son of Italian immigrants from Turin. He holds citizenship in both Argentina and Italy — a fact that qualified him as a papal candidate. While his home is Latin America, Bergoglio is also at home in Europe. A man of the world church, his humility and modesty are said to be admired by other cardinals.

Time in Germany

Bergoglio studied chemical engineering before he went to seminary and joined the Jesuit order. He taught philosophy, psychology and literature courses, and became a priest in 1969, going on to lead Argentina’s Jesuit province. In 1985, his doctoral studies brought him to a seminary in Frankfurt, which is why he now speaks German. In 1998, Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2005 he became the head of Argentina’s bishops’ conference. He enjoys cooking, opera, Greek classics, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky and swimming.

He is known as a moderate and open theologian. Conservatives prize his role as a Jesuit, in addition to his church work with the poor and in developing countries. Bergoglio is an intellectual, but also a charismatic ascetic. He is well-read but grounded, well-travelled but deeply rooted to his home.

Far from being a theorist, he ventures out into the favelas to visit the people. He seldom seeks a large audience, but when he does, it’s because he has something to say. His main concerns are globalization and the divide between rich and poor. “The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers,” he reportedly told a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007.

Conservative on Sexual Issues

Francis is conservative on questions related to sexual morals. He opposes abortion, gay marriage and contraception. In 2010 he got into a dispute with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The then-archbishop said that the adoption of children by gay couples would be child discrimination. The president said Bergoglio’s statements were reminiscent of the “medieval times and the Inquisition.”

On Catholic holy days, Bergoglio visited hospitals and prisons and washed the feet of patients and inmates. He stood up for those infected with HIV and for the baptism of children born out-of-wedlock, two stances that carried a lot of weight in a staunchly Catholic country like Argentina. In 2012 he criticized priests who refused to perform such baptisms as exhibiting a “hypocritical neo-clericalism.” Bergoglio is considered to be close to the conservative and socially engaged movement Communion and Liberation.

“We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church,” Bergoglio said recently, according to the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that’s sick because it’s self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former.”Pope Francis I



The Little Flower Congregation (CST Fathers) is a Congregation of religious priests that traces its beginning on 19th March, 1931 in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, Kerala. It was started as a society of Brothers under the name Little Flower Brotherhood by Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Panat later known as Father Basilius. It was re-organized into a religious institute (thereafter called Little Flower Congregation) with an approved constitution. The Canonical approval was given by the Archbishop of Ernakulam, Mar Augustine Kandathil for starting and reorganisingonDecember 27, 1945

The congregation was bifurcated to form a Congregation of Priests (CST Fathers) and a Congregation of Brothers (CST Brothers). His Holiness Pope John Paul II raised this Congregation of the Priests to the status of a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right on December 21, 1995. Little Flower who was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in Rome on October 19, 1997 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, is the Patroness of this Congregation.


The Little Flower Congregation, under the Patronage of St.Therese of Lisieux, has its origin on 19th March 1931 at Mookannur, a village 7 kilometers north east of Angamaly, Kerala, India. Father Thomas Panat started the Congregation out of his God-experience in Christ enhanced by his very personal devotion to St.Therese of Child Jesus. Simplicity and child-like surrender of the Little Flower to the will of God the Father had struck deep roots in his heart when he translated the four chapters of her autobiography entitled Navamalika. Fr. Basilius in his memoirs says: “With that (translation) I became enamoured of the life and the spirit of the Little Flower that erupted within and overflowed from the interior of my heart”. He intensely desired to share this experience with a few dedicated young men whom he eventually formed as the Little Flower Brotherhood (Cherupushpa Sahodara Sangham).

 On December 27, 1945 Archbishop Mar Agustine Kandathil accepted the formal petition of Fr. Thomas Panat seeking permission to admit candidates for priesthood into the ‘Cherupushpa Sahodara Sangham’ which then became a clerical religious institute known as Little Flower Congregation

Pope Benedict XVI: Farewell discourse to College of Cardinals (full text)

Pope: Farewell discourse to College of Cardinals (full text)

(From Vatican Radio) “The Church is in the world but not of the world and it is a living body,” therefore it is not an institution designed and conceived according to pre-set plans, but of God. Wednesday’s audience is proof of this, it has shown the “awakening of the Church in souls”.

Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s words to the College of Cardinals Thursday morning:

Dear beloved brothers,

I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart.

And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord.

As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter’s Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry.

In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky.

We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry.

We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path.

Together we can thank the Lord who has helped us grow in communion, to pray to together, to help you to continue to grow in this deep unity so that the College of Cardinals is like an orchestra, where diversity, an expression of the universal Church, always contributes to a superior harmony of concord.

I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart, a thought on the Church, Her mystery, which is for all of us, we can say, the reason and the passion of our lives. I am helped by an expression of Romano Guardini’s, written in the year in which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen Gentium, his last with a personal dedication to me, so the words of this book are particularly dear to me .

Guardini says: “The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ.”

This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square.

We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world.

She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday.

This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: “The Church is awakening in souls.”

The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today.

Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.

Prior to bidding farewell to each of you personally, I want to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope.

May the Lord show you what is willed by Him. And among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here to today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For all this, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart upon you my Apostolic Blessing.


Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the farewell discourse by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals to Pope Benedict XVI.


With great trepidation the cardinals present in Rome gather around you today, once again to show their deep affection and express their heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of the Church of Christ and of all humanity.

Last Saturday, at the end of the Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican, you thanked your collaborators from the Roman Curia, with these moving words: My friends, I would like to thank all of you not only for this week but for the past eight years, during which you have carried with me, with great skill, affection, love and loyalty, the weight of the Petrine ministry.

Beloved and revered Successor of Peter, it is we who must thank you for the example you have given us in the past eight years of Pontificate.

On 19 April 2005 you joined the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter, and today, 28 February 2013, you are about to leave us, as we wait for the helm of the Barque of Peter to pass into other hands.

Thus the apostolic succession continues, which the Lord promised His Holy Church, until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard proclaim on earth : “Tempus non erit amplius … consummabitur mysterium Dei” (Ap 10, 6-7) “there is no longer time: the mystery of God is finished.”

So ends the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the advent of a new heaven and a new earth.

Holy Father, with deep love we have tried to accompany you on your journey, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way?” (Luke 24:32).

Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts burned too as we walked with you in the past eight years. Today we want to once again express our gratitude.

Together we repeat a typical expression of your dear native land “Vergelt’s Gott” — God reward you!

Pope’s February 14 Talk to the Clergy of Rome

The Vatican Radio Transcription of the Pope’s February 14 Talk

to the Clergy of Rome (Slightly edited for clarity)

 (No official text of the talk has yet been made available — because there was no official written text to begin with — but Vatican Radio today published a transcription of nearly all of the Pope’s talk)

 “It is a special and providential gift,” began the Pope, “that, before leaving the Petrine ministry, I can once again meet my clergy, the clergy of Rome. It is always a great joy to see how the Church lives, and how in Rome, the Church is alive: there are pastors who in the spirit of the supreme Shepherd, guide the flock of Christ.”

 “It is a truly Catholic and universal clergy,” he added, “and is part of the essence of the Church of Rome itself, to reflect the universality, the catholicity, of all nations, of all races, of all cultures.”

“At the same time, I am very grateful to the Cardinal Vicar who is helping to reawaken, to rediscover the vocations in Rome itself, because if, on the one hand, Rome is the city of universality, it must be also a city with its own strong, robust faith, from which vocations are also born. And I am convinced that, with the help of the Lord, we can find the vocations He Himself gifts us, guide them, help them to develop and thus help the work in the vineyard of the Lord.”

“Today,” continued the Pope, “you have confessed the Creed before the Tomb of St. Peter: in the Year of the Faith, I see this as a very appropriate, perhaps even necessary, act, that the clergy of Rome meet at the Tomb of the Apostle of which the Lord said, ‘To you I entrust my Church. Upon you I build my Church.’ Before the Lord, together with Peter, you have confessed: ‘you are Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Thus the Church grows: together with Peter, confessing Christ, following Christ. And we do this always. I am very grateful for your prayers that I have felt, as I said Wednesday, almost physically. Though I am now retiring to a life of prayer, I will always be close to all you and I am sure all of you will be close to me, even though I remain hidden to the world. “

“For today, given the conditions of my age,” he said, “I could not prepare a great, real address, as one might expect, but rather I thought of chatting about the Second Vatican Council, as I saw it.”

The Pope began with an anecdote: “In 1959, I was appointed professor at the University of Bonn, which is attended by students, seminarians of the diocese of Cologne and other surrounding dioceses. So, I came into contact with the Cardinal of Cologne, Cardinal Frings. Cardinal Siri of Genoa — I think it was in 1961 — had organized a series of conferences with several cardinals in Europe, and the Council had invited the archbishop of Cologne to hold a conference, entitled: ‘The Council and the World of Modern Thought.’ The Cardinal invited me — the youngest of the professors — to write a project; he liked the project and proposed this text, as I had written it to the public, in Genoa.”

“Shortly after,” he continued, “Pope John invited him to come [to Rome] and he was afraid he had perhaps said maybe something incorrect, false, and that he had been asked to come for a reprimand, perhaps even to deprive him of his red hat… (priests laughing). Yes… when his secretary dressed him for the audience, he said: ‘Perhaps now I will be wearing this stuff for the last time…’ (the priests laugh). Then he went in. Pope John came towards him and hugged him, saying, ‘Thank you, Your Eminence, you said things I have wanted to say, but I had not found the words to say’… (the priests laugh, applaud) Thus, the Cardinal knew he was on the right track, and I was invited to accompany him to the Council, first as his personal advisor, then — in the first period, perhaps in November ’62 — I was also appointed as an official peritus [expert] for the Council.”

Benedict XVI continued: “So, we went to the Council not only with joy, but with enthusiasm. The expectation was incredible. We hoped that everything would be renewed, that a new Pentecost really would come, a new era of the Church, because the Church was not robust enough at that time: the Sunday practice was still good, even vocations to the priesthood and religious life were already somewhat fewer, but still sufficient. But nevertheless, there was the feeling that the Church was going on, but getting smaller, that somehow it seemed like a reality of the past and not the bearer of the future. And now, we hoped that this relationship would be renewed, changed, that the Church would once again source of strength for today and tomorrow.”

The Pope then recalled how they saw “that the relationship between the Church and the modern period was one of some ‘contrasts’ from the outset, starting with the error in the Galileo case, “and the idea was to correct this wrong start” and to find a new relationship between the Church and the best forces in the world, “to open up the future of humanity, to open up to real progress.”

The Pope recalled: “We were full of hope, enthusiasm and also of good will.”

 “I remember,” he said, “the Roman Synod was considered as a negative model” where — it was said — they read prepared texts, and the members of the Synod simply approved them, and that was how the Synod was held. The bishops agreed not to do so because they themselves were the subject of the Council. So — he continued — even Cardinal Frings, who was famous for his absolute, almost meticulous, fidelity to the Holy Father, said that the Pope has summoned the bishops in an ecumenical council as a subject to renew the Church.

Benedict XVI recalled that “the first time this attitude became clear, was immediately on the first day.”

 On the first day, the Commissions were to be elected and the lists and nominations were impartially prepared. And these lists were to be voted on. But soon the Fathers said, “No, are not simply going to vote on already made lists. We are the subject.”

 They had to move the elections — he continued — because the Fathers themselves wanted to get to know each other a little, they wanted to make their own lists. So it was done.

 “It was a revolutionary act,” he said, “but an act of conscience, of responsibility on the part of the Council Fathers.”

So, the Pope said, a strong activity of mutual understanding began. And this, he said, was customary for the entire period of the Council: “small transversal meetings.” In this way he became familiar with the great figures like Father de Lubac, Danielou, Congar, and so on. And this, he said “was an experience of the universality of the Church and of the reality of the Church, that does not merely receive imperatives from above, but grows and advances together, under the leadership, of course, of the Successor of Peter.”

He then reiterated that everyone “arrived with great expectations” because “there had never been a Council of this size,” but not everyone knew how to make it work. The French, German, Belgian, Dutch episcopates, the so-called “Rhineland Alliance,” had “the most clearly defined intentions.”

 And in the first part of the Council, he said, it was they who suggested the road ahead, then it’s activities rapidly expanded and soon all participated in the “creativity of the Council.”

The French and the Germans, he observed, had many interests in common, even with quite different nuances.

 Their initial intention, seemingly simple, “was the reform of the liturgy, which had begun with Pius XII,” which had already reformed Holy Week; their second intention was ecclesiology; their third the Word of God, Revelation, and then also ecumenism. The French, much more than the Germans, he noted, still had the problem of dealing with the situation of the relationship between the Church and the world.

Referring to the reform of the liturgy, the Pope recalled that “after the First World War, a liturgical movement had grown in Western Central Europe,” as “the rediscovery of the richness and depth of the liturgy,” which hitherto was almost locked within the priest’s Roman Missal, while the people prayed with their prayer books “that were made according to the heart of the people,” so that “the task was to translate the high content, the language of the classical liturgy, into more moving words, that were closer to the heart of the people. But they were almost two parallel liturgies: the priest with the altar servers, who celebrated the Mass according to the Missal, and the lay people who prayed the Mass with their prayer books.”

 “Now,” he continued, “the beauty, the depth, the Missal’s wealth of human and spiritual history” was rediscovered, as well as the need more than one representative of the people, a small altar boy, to respond “Et cum spiritu tuo” etc., to allow for “a real dialogue between priest and people,” so that the liturgy of the altar and the liturgy of the people really were “one single liturgy, one active participation.

 “And so it was that the liturgy was rediscovered, renewed.”

The Pope said he saw the fact that the Council started with the liturgy as a very positive sign, because in this way “the primacy of God” was self-evident.

 Some, he noted, criticized the Council because it spoke about many things, but not about God: instead, it spoke of God and its first act was to speak of God and open to the entire holy people the possibility of worshiping God, in the common celebration of the liturgy of the Body and Blood of Christ.

In this sense, he observed, beyond the practical factors that advised against immediately starting with controversial issues, it was actually “an act of Providence” that the Council began with the liturgy, God, Adoration.

The Holy Father then recalled the essential ideas of the Council: especially the paschal mystery as a center of Christian existence, and therefore of Christian life, as expressed in Easter and Sunday, which is always the day of the Resurrection, “over and over again we begin our time with the Resurrection, with an encounter with the Risen One.”

 In this sense, he observed, it is unfortunate that today, Sunday has been transformed into the end of the week, while it is the first day, it is the beginning: “inwardly we must bear in mind this is the beginning, the beginning of Creation, the beginning of the re-creation of the Church, our encounter with the Creator and with the Risen Christ.”

 The Pope stressed the importance of this dual content of Sunday: it is the first day, that is the feast of the Creation, as we believe in God the Creator, and an encounter with the Risen One who renews Creation: “its real purpose is to create a world which is a response to God’s love. “

The Council also pondered the principals of the intelligibility of the Liturgy, instead of being locked up in an unknown language, which was no longer spoken, and active participation.

“Unfortunately,”  he said, “these principles were also poorly understood.”

 In fact, intelligibility does not mean “banalizing,” because the great texts of the liturgy,  even in the spoken languages, are not easily intelligible, he said. “They require an ongoing formation of the Christian, so that he may grow and enter deeper into the depths of the mystery, and thus comprehend.”

 And also concerning the Word of God, he asked, who can honestly say they understand the texts of Scripture, simply because they are in their own language?

 “Only a permanent formation of the heart and mind can actually create intelligibility and participation which is more than one external activity, which is an entering of the person, of his or her being into communion with the Church and thus in fellowship with Christ,” he said.

The Pope then addressed the second issue: the Church.

 He recalled that the First Vatican Council was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and so had emphasized only the doctrine on primacy, which was described as “thanks to God at that historical moment” and “it was very much needed for the Church in the time that followed.”

 But, he said, “it was just one element in a broader ecclesiology,” already in preparation.

 So a a fragment remained from the Council. So from the beginning, he said, the intention was to realise a more complete ecclesiology at a later time.

 Here, too, he said, the conditions seemed very good, because after the First World War, the sense of Church was reborn in a new way.

 A sense of the Church began to reawaken in people’s souls and the Protestant bishop spoke of the “century of the Church.”

 What was especially rediscovered from Vatican I, was the concept of the mystical body of Christ. The aim was to speak about and understand the Church not as an organization, something structural, legal, institutional, which it also is, but as an organism, a vital reality that enters my soul, so that I myself, with my own soul as a believer, am a constructive element of the Church as such. In this sense, Pius XII wrote the encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, as a step towards a completion of the ecclesiology of Vatican I.

“I would say the theological discussion of the 1930s-1940s, even 1920s, was completely under the sign of the words Mystici Corporis,” the Pope said.

 “It was a discovery that created so much joy in this time and in this context the formula arose: ‘We are the Church, the Church is not a structure, something … we Christians, together, we are all the living body of the Church.’

 “And of course this is true in the sense that we, the true ‘we’ of believers, along with the ‘I’ of Christ, the Church. Each one of us, not we, a group that claims to be the Church. No: this ‘we are Church’ requires my inclusion in the great ‘we’ of believers of all times and places.

So, the Pope said, this was the first idea: to complete the [Vatican I] ecclesiology in theological way, but progressing in a structural manner, that is, alongside the succession of Peter, his unique function, to even better define the function of the bishops of the episcopal body.

 To do this, he said, the word “collegiality” was found, “which provoked great, intense and even – I would say – exaggerated discussions.”

 “But it was the word (it might have been another one), but this ord was needed to express that the bishops, together, are the continuation of the Twelve, the body of the Apostles.

 “We said: only one bishop, that of Rome, is the successor of one particular apostle, Peter. All others become successors of the apostles entering the body that continues the body of the apostles. And just so the body of bishops, the college, is the continuation of the body of the Twelve, so it is necessary, it has its function, its rights and duties.

“It appeared to many,” the Pope said, “as a struggle for power, and maybe some did think about power, but basically it was not about power, but the complementarity of the factors and the completeness of the body of the Church with the bishops, the successors the apostles as bearers, and each of them is a pillar of the Church together with this great body.”

“These,” he continued, “were the two fundamental elements in the search for a comprehensive theological vision of ecclesiology. Meanwhile, after the 1940s, in the 1950s, a little criticism of the concept of the Body of Christ had already been born: ‘mystical body,’ some said, is too exclusive and risks overshadowing the concept of the ‘people of God.’ And the Council,” he observed, “rightly, accepted this fact, which in the Fathers is considered an expression of the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. We Gentiles, we are not in and of ourselves the people of God, but we become the children of Abraham and therefore the people of God, by entering into communion with Christ who is the only seed of Abraham. And entering into communion with Him, being one with Him, we too are ‘people of God.’ That is, the concept of ‘people of God’ implies continuity of the Testaments, continuity of God’s history in the world, with men, but also implies a Christological element. Only through Christology do we become the ‘people of God,’ and the two concepts are combined. And the Council,” said the Pope, “decided to create a Trinitarian construction of ecclesiology: the People of God-the-Father-Body of Christ-Temple of the Holy Spirit.

“But only after the Council,” he continued, “was an element that had been somewhat hidden, brought to light, even as early as the Council itself, that is, the link between the People of God, the (mystical) Body of Christ, and their communion with Christ, in the Eucharistic union.

 “Here we become the body of Christ, that is, the relationship between the people of God and the Body of Christ creates a new reality, that is, the communion.”

 “And the Council,” he continued, “led to the concept of communion as a central concept. I would say philologically that it had not yet fully matured in the Council, but it is the result of the Council that the concept of communion becomes more and more an expression of the sense of the Church, communion in different dimensions, communion with the Triune God, who Himself is communion between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sacramental communion, concrete communion in the Episcopate and in the life of the Church.

“The problem of Revelation provoked even greater discussion: at issue was the relationship between Scripture and tradition, and above all this interested exegetes of a greater freedom, who felt somewhat, shall we say, in a situation of negativity before Protestants, who were making great discoveries, while Catholics felt a little ‘handicapped’ by the need to submit themselves to Magisterium. There was therefore a very concrete issue at stake: how free are exegetes? How does one read Scriptures well? What is meant by tradition?

 “It was a pluri-dimensional battle that I can not outline now, but certainly what is important is that Scripture is the Word of God and the Church is subject to the Scriptures, obeys the Word of God, and is not above Scripture. Yet, Scripture is Scripture only because there is the living Church, its living subject; without the living subject of the Church Scripture is only a book, open to different interpretations, but which does not give any final clarity.

“Here, the battle, as I said, was difficult and the intervention of Pope Paul VI was decisive. This intervention shows all the delicacy of the Pope, his responsibility for the outcome of the Council, but also his great respect for the Council.

 “The idea had emerged that Scripture is complete, everything can be found therein, so there was no need for tradition, and that Magisterium has nothing to say to us. Then the Pope sent the Council, I believe, 14 formulas of a sentence to be included in the text on Revelation and gave us, gave the Fathers, the freedom to choose one of 14 (formulas), but said: ‘One has to be chosen to complete the text.’

 “I remember, more or less, that the formula spoke of the Church’s certainty of the faith not being based solely on a book, but needing the illuminated subject of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can Scripture speak and bring to bear all of its authority.

 “We chose this phrase in the Doctrinal Commission, one of the 14 formulas. It is crucial, I think, to show the indispensability, the necessity of the Church, and to understand what tradition means, the living body in which the Word lives from the beginning and from which it receives its light, in which it was born.

 “Because the simple fact of the Canon (the list of the books included in the Bible) is an ecclesial fact: that these writings are Scripture is the result of the illumination of the Church that found this canon of Scripture within herself, she found (this Canon), she did not make it, but found it. Only and always in this communion of the living Church can one really understand and read the Scriptures as the Word of God, as the Word that guides us in life and in death.

“As I said, this was a difficult discussion, but thanks to the Pope and thanks, let’s say, to the light of the Holy Spirit who was present at the Council, a document that is one of the most beautiful and also innovative of the whole Council was created, which demands further study, because even today  exegesis tends to read Scripture outside of the Church, outside of faith, only in the so-called spirit of the historical-critical method — an important method, but never able to give solutions as a final certainty (which comes) only if we believe that these are not human words: they are the words of God. And only if (we), the living subjects to whom God has spoken, to whom God speaks, are alive, can we correctly interpret Sacred Scripture.

 “And there is still much to be done, as I said in the preface of my book on Jesus, to arrive at a reading of Scripture that is really in the spirit of the Council. Here the application of the Council is not yet complete, it has yet to be accomplished.

“Finally, ecumenism. I do not want to enter into these problems, but it was obvious, especially after the suffering of Christians in the time of National Socialism, that Christians could find unity, at least seek unity, but also that only God can give unity. We are still on this journey.

“Now, with these issues, the Rhine alliance, so to speak, had done its work: the second part of the Council is much broader.

 “Now the themes of ‘the world today,’ ‘the modern era and the Church,’ emerged with greater urgency, and with them, the themes of responsibility for the building of this world, society’s responsibility for the future of this world and eschatological hope, the ethical responsibility of Christians, where they find their guides, and then religious freedom, progress and all that, and relations with other religions.

“Now all the players in the Council really entered into discussions, not only the Americas-United States with a strong interest in religious freedom. In the third session they told the Pope: ‘We cannot go home without bringing with us a declaration on religious freedom passed by the Council.’

 “The Pope [Paul VI], however, had firmness and decision, the patience to delay the text until the fourth session, to reach a maturation and a fairly complete consensus among the Fathers of the Council.

 “I say, not only the Americans had now entered with great force into the Council arena, but also Latin America, knowing full well the misery of their people, a Catholic continent and their responsibility for the situation of the faith of these people.

 “And Africa, Asia, also saw the need for interreligious dialogue: increased problems that we Germans, I must say, at the beginning had not seen. I cannot go into greater depth on this now.

“The great document Gaudium et Spes describes very well the problem analyzed between Christian eschatology and worldly progress, between our responsibility for the society of tomorrow and the responsibility of the Christian before eternity, and so it also renewed Christian ethics, the foundations.

“But unexpectedly, a document that responded in a more synthetic and concrete manner to the great challenges of the time, took shape outside of this great document, namely Nostra Aetate.

“From the beginning, there were our Jewish friends, who said to us Germans especially, but not only to us, that after the sad events of this century, this decade of National Socialism, the Catholic Church had to say a word on the Old Testament, the Jewish people. They also said ‘it was clear that the Church is not responsible for the Shoah. Those who have committed these crimes were Christians, for the most part, we must deepen and renew the Christian conscience, even if we know that the true believers always resisted these things.’ [Note: I believe these lines of the Vatican Radio transcription need to be checked against the Pope’s actual words in his talk, which I am unable to access at this time.]

“And so, it was clear that we had to reflect on our relationship with the world of the ancient people of God. We also understood that the Arab countries, the bishops of the Arab countries, were not happy with this. They feared a glorification of the State of Israel, which they did not want to, of course. They said, ‘Well, a truly theological indication on the Jewish people is good, it is necessary, but if you are to speak about this, you must also speak of Islam. Only in this way can we be balanced. Islam is also a great challenge and the Church should clarify its relationship with Islam.’ This is something that we didn’t really understand at the time, a little, but not much. Today we know how necessary it was.

“And when we started to work also on Islam, they said: ‘But there are also other religions of the world: all of Asia! Think about Buddhism, Hinduism…’

“And so, instead of an initial declaration originally meant only for the ancient people of God, a text on interreligious dialogue was created anticipating by 30 years what would later reveal itself in all of its intensity and importance. I can not enter into it now, but if you read the text, you see that it is very dense and prepared by people who really knew the truth, and it briefly indicates, in a few words, what is essential. Thus also the foundations of a dialogue in diversity, in faith to the uniqueness of Christ, who is One.

“It is not possible for a believer to think that religions are all variations on a theme of ‘no.’

“There is a reality of the living God who has spoken, and is a God, a God incarnate, therefore the Word of God is really the Word of God.

“But there is religious experience, with a certain human light of creation, and therefore it is necessary and possible to enter into dialogue and thus open up to each other and open all peoples up to the peace of God, of all his children, and his entire family.

“Thus, these two documents, religious freedom and Nostra Aetate associated with Gaudium et Spes are a very important trilogy, the importance of which has only been revealed over the decades, and we are still working to understand this uniqueness of the revelation of God, uniqueness of God incarnate in Christ and the multiplicity of religions with which we seek peace and also an open heart to the light of the Holy Spirit who enlightens and guides to Christ.

“I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers, the true Council, but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media.

“So the immediate message of the Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers.

“And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellectus, that sought to understand, to try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow.

“So while the whole Council, as I said, moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith, but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics.

“It was a hermeneutic of politics.

“The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world.

“There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the ‘People of God,’ the power of the people, the laity.

“There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops, and then the power of all… popular sovereignty.

“Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help.

“This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: ‘Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world.’

“Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity.

“And these translations, trivializing the idea of ​​the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith.

“And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.

“And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed liturgy trivialized… and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council.

“But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church.

“It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength.

“And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed.

“We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, 2010
Papacy began 19 April 2005
Papacy ended Incumbent
Predecessor John Paul II
Ordination 29 June 1951
by Michael von Faulhaber
Consecration 28 May 1977
by Josef Stangl
Created Cardinal 27 June 1977
Personal details
Birth name Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger
Born 16 April 1927 (age 85)
Marktl, Bavaria, Germany
Nationality German (along with Vatican citizenship)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., Maria Peintner
Previous post
Motto cooperatores veritatis (cooperators of the truth)[1]
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Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Other Popes named Benedict
Ordination History
Diaconal ordination
Ordained by Johannes Baptist Neuhäusler
Date of ordination 29 October 1950
Priestly ordination
Ordained by Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber
Date of ordination 29 June 1951
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator Josef Stangl
Co-consecrator Rudolf Graber
Co-consecrator Ernst Tewes
Date of consecration 28 May 1977
Bishops consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI as principal consecrator
Alberto Bovone 12 May 1984
Zygmunt Zimowski 25 May 2002
Josef Clemens 6 January 2004
Bruno Forte 8 September 2004
Mieczysław Mokrzycki 29 September 2007
Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro 29 September 2007
Gianfranco Ravasi 29 September 2007
Tommaso Caputo 29 September 2007
Sergio Pagano 29 September 2007
Vincenzo Di Mauro 29 September 2007
Gabriele Giordano Caccia 12 September 2009
Franco Coppola 12 September 2009
Pietro Parolin 12 September 2009
Raffaello Martinelli 12 September 2009
Giorgio Corbellini 12 September 2009

Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; Spanish: Benedicto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger; 16 April 1927) is the 265th Pope,[2] a position in which he serves dual roles as Sovereign of the Vatican City State and leader of the Catholic Church. As Pope, he is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter the Apostle. Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. A native of Bavaria, Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. On 11 February 2013, Benedict XVI announced that he would resign the papacy, effective 28 February, due to age and ill health,[3] becoming the first pope to resign since 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since 1294.[4][5]

Ordained as a priest in 1951, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university 1976–1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as Pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming Pope, he was “a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century” as “one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals”; he had an influence “second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions” as one of Pope John Paul II‘s closest confidants.[6]

Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI is theologically conservative in his teaching and his prolific[7] writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI has advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many developed countries. He views relativism‘s denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He teaches the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God’s redemptive love. He has reaffirmed the “importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.”[8] Pope Benedict has also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position.[9]



Pope Benedict XVI at a private audience on 20 January 2006

Benedict XVI was elected Pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest person to have been elected Pope since Pope Clement XII (1730–40). He had served longer as a cardinal than any Pope since Benedict XIII (1724–30). He is the ninth German Pope, the eighth having been the Dutch-German Pope Adrian VI (1522–23) from Utrecht. The last Pope named Benedict was Benedict XV, an Italian who reigned from 1914 to 1922, during World War I (1914–18).

Born in 1927 in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany, Ratzinger had a distinguished career as a university theologian before being appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI (1963–78). Shortly afterwards, he was made a cardinal in the consistory of 27 June 1977. He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and was also assigned the honorific title of the cardinal bishop of Velletri-Segni on 5 April 1993. In 1998, he was elected sub-dean of the College of Cardinals. On 30 November 2002, he was elected dean, taking, as is customary, the title of cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia. He was the first Dean of the College elected Pope since Paul IV (1555–59) and the first cardinal bishop elected Pope since Pius VIII (1829–30).

Even before becoming Pope, Ratzinger was one of the most influential men in the Roman Curia, and was a close associate of John Paul II. As Dean of the College of Cardinals, he presided over the funeral of John Paul II and over the Mass immediately preceding the 2005 conclave in which he was elected. During the service, he called on the assembled cardinals to hold fast to the doctrine of the faith. He was the public face of the church in the sede vacante period, although, technically, he ranked below the Camerlengo in administrative authority during that time. Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI affirms traditional Catholic doctrine.

In addition to his native German, Benedict speaks French and Italian fluently. He also has a very good command of Latin and speaks English and Spanish adequately. Furthermore, he has some knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew.[10] He has stated that his first foreign language is French. He is a member of several scientific academies, such as the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Bach.[11]

Early life: 1927–51

Marktl, the house where Ratzinger was born. The building still stands today.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on 16 April, Holy Saturday, 1927, at Schulstraße 11, at 8:30 in the morning in his parents’ home in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptised the same day. He was the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., a police officer, and Maria Ratzinger (née Peintner). His mother’s family was originally from South Tyrol (now in Italy).[citation needed] Pope Benedict XVI’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, a priest and former director of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, is still alive. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger’s household until her death in 1991. Their grand-uncle was the German politician Georg Ratzinger.

At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich with flowers. Struck by the cardinal’s distinctive garb, he later announced the very same day that he wanted to be a cardinal.

Ratzinger attended the elementary school in Aschau am Inn, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.[12]

Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth—as membership was required by law for all 14-year-old German boys after December 1939[13]—but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings, according to his brother.[14] In 1941, one of Ratzinger’s cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and murdered during the Action T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics.[15] In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer (air force child soldier).[14] Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry.[16] As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family’s home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established their headquarters in the Ratzinger household.[17] As a German soldier, he was put in a POW camp but was released a few months later at the end of the war in the summer of 1945.[17] He reentered the seminary, along with his brother Georg, in November of that year.

Thus, following repatriation in 1945, the two brothers entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, later studying at the Ducal Georgianum (Herzogliches Georgianum) of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. They were both ordained in Freising on 29 June 1951 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich. Ratzinger recalled:

…at the moment the elderly Archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird – perhaps a lark – flew up from the altar in the high cathedral and trilled a little joyful song.[18]

Ratzinger’s 1953 dissertation was on St. Augustine and was titled The People and the House of God in Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church. His Habilitation (which qualified him for a professorship) was on Bonaventure. It was completed in 1957 and he became a professor of Freising College in 1958.

Pre-papal career

Academic career: 1951–77

Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn in 1959; his inaugural lecture was on “The God of Faith and the God of Philosophy”. In 1963, he moved to the University of Münster.

During this period, Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). Ratzinger served as a peritus (theological consultant) to Cardinal Frings of Cologne. He was viewed during the time of the Council as a reformer, cooperating with theologians like Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx. Ratzinger became an admirer of Karl Rahner, a well-known academic theologian of the Nouvelle Théologie and a proponent of church reform.

In 1966, Ratzinger was appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen, where he was a colleague of Hans Küng. In his 1968 book Introduction to Christianity, he wrote that the pope has a duty to hear differing voices within the Church before making a decision, and he downplayed the centrality of the papacy. During this time, he distanced himself from the atmosphere of Tübingen and the Marxist leanings of the student movement of the 1960s that quickly radicalised, in the years 1967 and 1968, culminating in a series of disturbances and riots in April and May 1968. Ratzinger came increasingly to see these and associated developments (such as decreasing respect for authority among his students) as connected to a departure from traditional Catholic teachings.[19] Despite his reformist bent, his views increasingly came to contrast with the liberal ideas gaining currency in theological circles.[20]

Some voices, among them Hans Küng, deem this a turn towards conservatism, while Ratzinger himself said in a 1993 interview, “I see no break in my views as a theologian [over the years]”.[21] Ratzinger has continued to defend the work of the Second Vatican Council, including Nostra Aetate, the document on respect of other religions, ecumenism and the declaration of the right to freedom of religion. Later, as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger most clearly spelled out the Catholic Church’s position on other religions in the 2000 document Dominus Iesus which also talks about the Roman Catholic way to engage in “ecumenical dialogue”.

During his years at Tübingen University, Ratzinger published articles in the reformist theological journal Concilium, though he increasingly chose less reformist themes than other contributors to the magazine such as Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx.

In 1969, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg. He founded the theological journal Communio, with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and others, in 1972. Communio, now published in seventeen languages, including German, English and Spanish, has become a prominent journal of contemporary Catholic theological thought. Until his election as Pope, he remained one of the journal’s most prolific contributors. In 1976, he suggested that the Augsburg Confession might possibly be recognised as a Catholic statement of faith.[22][23]

He served as Vice President of the University of Regensburg from 1976 to 1977.[24]

Archbishop of Munich and Freising: 1977–82

Palais Holnstein in Munich, the residence of Benedict as Archbishop of Munich and Freising

On 24 March 1977, Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He took as his episcopal motto Cooperatores Veritatis (Co-workers of the Truth) from 3 John 8, a choice he comments upon in his autobiographical work, Milestones. In the consistory of the following 27 June, he was named Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino by Pope Paul VI. By the time of the 2005 Conclave, he was one of only 14 remaining cardinals appointed by Paul VI, and one of only three of those under the age of 80. Of these, only he and William Wakefield Baum took part in the conclave.[25]

Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: 1981–2005

On 25 November 1981, Pope John Paul II named Ratzinger as the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the “Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office“, the historical Roman Inquisition. Consequently, he resigned his post at Munich in early 1982. He was promoted within the College of Cardinals to become Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993 and was made the college’s vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002. Just a year after its foundation in 1990 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger joined the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg/Austria in 1991.[26][27]

Ratzinger defended and reaffirmed Catholic doctrine, including teaching on topics such as birth control, homosexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. The theologian Leonardo Boff, for example, was suspended, while others were censured. Other issues also prompted condemnations or revocations of rights to teach: for instance, some posthumous writings of Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello were the subject of a notification. Ratzinger and the congregation viewed many of them, particularly the later works, as having an element of religious indifferentism (i.e., Christ was “one master alongside others”). In particular, Dominus Iesus, published by the congregation in the jubilee year 2000, reaffirmed many recently “unpopular” ideas, including the Catholic Church’s position that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” The document angered many Protestant churches by claiming that they are not actually churches, but “ecclesial communities”.[28]

Ratzinger’s 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus clarified the confidentiality of internal church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse. This became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal.[29] As a Cardinal, Raztinger had been for twenty years the man in charge of enforcing the document.[30] While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup.[31] Later, as Pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution.[32]

On 12 March 1983, Ratzinger, as prefect, notified the lay faithful and the clergy that archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc had incurred excommunication latae sententiae for illicit episcopal consecrations without the apostolic mandate.

In 1997, when he turned 70, Ratzinger asked Pope John Paul II for permission to leave the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith and to become an archivist in the Vatican Secret Archives and a librarian in the Vatican Library, but the pope refused such permission.[33][34]

Papacy (2005-2013)

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome

Election to the papacy

Main article: Papal conclave, 2005

On 2 January 2005, Time magazine quoted unnamed Vatican sources as saying that Ratzinger was a front runner to succeed John Paul II should the pope die or become too ill to continue as pope. On the death of John Paul II, the Financial Times gave the odds of Ratzinger becoming pope as 7–1, the lead position, but close to his rivals on the liberal wing of the church. In April 2005, before his election as pope, he was identified as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time. While Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger repeatedly stated he would like to retire to his house in the Bavarian village of Pentling near Regensburg and dedicate himself to writing books.

Though Ratzinger was increasingly considered the front runner by much of the international media, others maintained that his election was far from certain, since very few papal predictions in modern history had come true. The elections of both John Paul II and his predecessor, John Paul I had been rather unexpected. Despite being the favorite (or perhaps because he was the favorite), it was a surprise to many that he was actually elected, as traditionally the frontrunners are passed over by the conclave for someone else.

On 19 April 2005, Ratzinger was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II on the second day of the papal conclave after four ballots. Ratzinger had hoped to retire peacefully and said that “At a certain point, I prayed to God ‘please don’t do this to me’…Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me.”[35] Coincidentally, 19 April is the feast of St. Leo IX, the most important German pope of the Middle Ages, known for instituting major reforms during his pontificate.

Before his first appearance at the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica after becoming pope, he was announced by Jorge Medina Estévez, Cardinal Protodeacon of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinal Medina Estévez first addressed the massive crowd as “dear(est) brothers and sisters” in Italian, Spanish, French, German and English, with each language receiving cheers from the international crowd, before continuing with the traditional Habemus Papam announcement in Latin.

At the balcony, Benedict’s first words to the crowd, given in Italian before he gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing in Latin, were:

Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with insufficient instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help, let us move forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother, will be on our side. Thank you.[36]

On 24 April, he celebrated the Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square, during which he was invested with the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman. Then, on 7 May, he took possession of his cathedral church, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Choice of name

Ratzinger chose the pontifical name Benedict, which comes from the Latin word meaning “the blessed”, in honour of both Pope Benedict XV and Saint Benedict of Nursia. Pope Benedict XV was Pope during the First World War, during which time he passionately pursued peace between the warring nations. St. Benedict of Nursia was the founder of the Benedictine monasteries (most monasteries of the Middle Ages were of the Benedictine order) and the author of the Rule of Saint Benedict, which is still the most influential writing regarding the monastic life of Western Christianity.

The pope explained his choice of name during his first General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, on 27 April 2005:

Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples. Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life: May Christ always take first place in our thoughts and actions![37]

Tone of papacy

Pope Benedict XVI’s first trip in a Popemobile

During his inaugural Mass, the previous custom of every cardinal submitting to the Pope was replaced by having twelve people, including cardinals, clergy, religious, a married couple and their child, and newly confirmed people, greet him. (The cardinals had formally sworn their obedience upon his election.) He began using an open-topped papal car, saying that he wanted to be closer to the people. Pope Benedict has continued the tradition of his predecessor John Paul II and baptises several infants in the Sistine Chapel at the beginning of each year, in his pastoral role as Bishop of Rome.


On 9 May 2005, Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Normally, five years must pass after a person’s death before the beatification process can begin. However, in an audience with Pope Benedict, Camillo Ruini, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome and the official responsible for promoting the cause for canonization of any person who dies within that diocese, cited “exceptional circumstances” which suggested that the waiting period could be waived. This happened before, when Pope Paul VI waived the five-year rule and announced beatification processes for his predecessors, Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII. Benedict XVI followed this precedent when he waived the five-year rule for John Paul II.[38] The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and the 24th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul II’s life.[39] John Paul II often credited Our Lady of Fátima for preserving him on that day. Cardinal Ruini inaugurated the diocesan phase of the cause for beatification in the Lateran Basilica on 28 June 2005.[40]

The first beatification under the new Pope was celebrated on 14 May 2005, by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The new Blesseds were Mother Marianne Cope and Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi. Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen was beatified on 9 October 2005. Mariano de la Mata was beatified in November 2006 and Rosa Eluvathingal was beatified 3 December of that year, and Fr. Basil Moreau was beatified September 2007.[41] In October 2008 the following beatifications took place: Celestine of the Mother of God, Giuseppina Nicoli, Hendrina Stenmanns, Maria Rosa Flesch, Marta Anna Wiecka, Michael Sopocko, Petrus Kibe Kasui and 187 Companions, Susana Paz-Castillo Ramirez, Maria Isbael Salvat Romero, and John Henry Newman.

Unlike his predecessor, Benedict XVI delegated the beatification liturgical service to a Cardinal. On 29 September 2005, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued a communiqué announcing that henceforth beatifications would be celebrated by a representative of the Pope, usually the Prefect of that Congregation.[42]


Pope Benedict at the canonization of Frei Galvão

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first canonizations on 23 October 2005 in St. Peter’s Square when he canonized Josef Bilczewski, Alberto Hurtado SJ, Zygmunt Gorazdowski, Gaetano Catanoso, and Felice da Nicosia. The canonizations were part of a Mass that marked the conclusion of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist.[43] Pope Benedict XVI canonized Bishop Rafael Guizar y Valencia, Mother Theodore Guerin, Filippo Smaldone, and Rosa Venerini on 15 October 2006.

During his visit to Brazil in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the canonization of Frei Galvão on 11 May, while George Preca, founder of the Malta based M.U.S.E.U.M., Szymon of Lipnica, Charles of Mount Argus, and Marie-Eugénie de Jésus were canonized in a ceremony held at the Vatican on 3 June 2007.[44] Preca is the first Maltese saint since the country’s conversion to Christianity in 60 A.D. when St. Paul converted the inhabitants.[45] In October 2008 the following canonizations took place: Saint Alphonsa of India,[46] Gaetano Errico, Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, Maria Bernarda Bütler. In April 2009 he canonized Arcangelo Tadini, Bernardo Tolomei, Nuno Álvares Pereira, Geltrude Comensoli, Caterina Volpicelli.[47] In October of the same year he canonized Jeanne Jugan, Jozef Damian de Veuster, Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnáiz Barón.[48][49]

On 17 October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI formally declared sainthood for Saint André Bessette, a French-Canadian; Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano and Camilla Battista da Varano; Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola and an Australian nun, Mother Mary MacKillop.[50]

On 23 October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI canonized three saints: a Spanish nun Bonifacia Rodriguez y Castro, Italian archbishop Guido Maria Conforti, and Italian priest Luigi Guanella.[51]

In December 2011, Pope Benedict formally recognized the validity of the miracles necessary to proceed with the canonizations of Kateri Tekakwitha, who will be the first Native American saint, Marianne Cope, a nun working with lepers in what is now the state of Hawaii, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest, Jacques Berthieu a French Jesuit priest and African martyr, Carmen Salles y Barangueras, a Spanish nun and founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Peter Calungsod, a lay catechist and martyr from the Philippines, and Anna Schaffer whose desire to be a missionary was unfulfilled on account of her illness.[52] They were canonized on 21 October 2012.[53]

Doctors of the Church

On 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Hildegard of Bingen and John of Avila Doctors of the Church, the 34th and 35th individuals so recognised in the history of Christianity. His predecessor had only named one Doctor of the Church during his papacy.[54]

Curia reform

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the Holy See

Pope Benedict began downsizing the Roman Curia when he merged four existing pontifical councils into two in March 2006. The Pontifical Council for Migrants was merged with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace headed by Cardinal Martino. Likewise, Cardinal Poupard, who headed the Pontifical Council for Culture, now also oversees the operations of what had been the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, though both Councils maintained separate officials and staffs while their status and competencies continued unchanged. In May 2007 it was decided that Interreligious Dialogue would again become a separate body under a different President. In June 2010 Benedict created the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. He appointed Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella as its first president.


As Pope, one of Benedict XVI’s main roles is to teach about the Catholic faith and the solutions to the problems of discerning and living the faith,[55] a role that he can play well as a former head of the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The main points of emphasis of his teachings are stated in more detail in Theology of Pope Benedict XVI.

“Friendship with Jesus Christ”

At the conclusion of his first homily as Pope, Benedict referred to both Jesus Christ and John Paul II. Citing John Paul II’s well-known words, “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!”, Benedict XVI said:

Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us?…And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation….When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.[56]

Benedict XVI: “The Eucharist is the enduring presence of Jesus’ self-oblation.” (Deus Caritas Est)

“Friendship with Jesus Christ” is a frequent theme of his preaching.[57][58] He stressed that on this intimate friendship, “everything depends.”[59] He has also said: “We are all called to open ourselves to this friendship with God… speaking to him as to a friend, the only One who can make the world both good and happy… That is all we have to do is put ourselves at his disposal…is an extremely important message. It is a message that helps to overcome what can be considered the great temptation of our time: the claim, that after the Big Bang, God withdrew from history.”[60] Thus, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, his main purpose was “to help foster [in the reader] the growth of a living relationship” with Jesus Christ.[59]

He took up this theme in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. In his personal explanation and summary of the encyclical, he stated: “If friendship with God becomes for us something ever more important and decisive, then we will begin to love those whom God loves and who are in need of us. God wants us to be friends of his friends and we can be so, if we are interiorly close to them.”[61] Thus, he said that prayer is “urgently needed…It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.”

“Dictatorship of Relativism”

Continuing what he said in the pre-conclave Mass about what he has often referred to as the “central problem of our faith today”,[62] on 6 June 2005 Pope Benedict also said:

Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of education is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognising nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own ego.[63]

He said that “a dictatorship of relativism”[64] was the core challenge facing the church and humanity. At the root of this problem, he said, is Kant‘s “self-limitation of reason”. This, he said, is contradictory to the modern acclamation of science whose excellence is based on the power of reason to know the truth. He said that this self-amputation of reason leads to pathologies of religion such as terrorism and pathologies of science such as ecological disasters.[65] Benedict traced the failed revolutions and violent ideologies of the 20th century to a conversion of partial points of view into absolute guides. He said “Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism.”[66]

In an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome held at the basilica of St. John Lateran 6 June 2005, Benedict remarked on the issues of same sex marriage and abortion:

The various forms of the dissolution of matrimony today, like free unions, trial marriages and going up to pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex, are rather expressions of an anarchic freedom that wrongly passes for true freedom of man…from here it becomes all the more clear how contrary it is to human love, to the profound vocation of man and woman, to systematically close their union to the gift of life, and even worse to suppress or tamper with the life that is born.[67]

Christianity as religion according to reason

In the discussion with secularism and rationalism, one of Benedict’s basic ideas can be found in his address on the “Crisis of Culture” in the West, a day before Pope John Paul II died, when he referred to Christianity as the Religion of the Logos (the Greek for “word”, “reason”, “meaning”, or “intelligence”). He said:

From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason…It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them…the same dignity. In this connection, the Enlightenment is of Christian origin and it is no accident that it was born precisely and exclusively in the realm of the Christian faith….It was and is the merit of the Enlightenment to have again proposed these original values of Christianity and of having given back to reason its own voice… Today, this should be precisely [Christianity’s] philosophical strength, in so far as the problem is whether the world comes from the irrational, and reason is not other than a ‘sub-product,’ on occasion even harmful of its development—or whether the world comes from reason, and is, as a consequence, its criterion and goal…In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and Catholics, we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: to live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.[68]

Benedict also emphasised that “Only creative reason, which in the crucified God is manifested as love, can really show us the way.”


Pope Benedict has to date written three encyclicals: Deus Caritas Est (Latin for “God is Love”), Spe Salvi (“Saved by Hope”), and Caritas in Veritate (“Love in Truth”).

In his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, he said that a human being, created in the image of God who is love, is able to practice love: to give himself to God and others (agape), by receiving and experiencing God’s love in contemplation. This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them in Jesus Christ.[69]

The encyclical contains almost 16,000 words in 42 paragraphs. The first half is said to have been written by Benedict in German, his mother tongue, in the summer of 2005; the second half is derived from uncompleted writings left by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.[70] The document was signed by Pope Benedict on Christmas Day, 25 December 2005.[71] The encyclical was promulgated a month later in Latin and was translated into English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. It is the first encyclical to be published since the Vatican decided to assert copyright in the official writings of the Pope.[72]

Pope Benedict’s second encyclical titled Spe Salvi (“Saved by Hope”), about the virtue of hope, was released on 30 November 2007.[73][74]

Benedict’s third encyclical titled Caritas in Veritate (“Love in Truth” or “Charity in Truth”), was signed on 29 June 2009 (the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul) and released on 7 July 2009.[75] In it, the Pope continued the Church’s teachings on social justice. He condemned the prevalent economic system “where the pernicious effects of sin are evident,” and called on people to rediscover ethics in business and economic relations.[75]

Post-synodal apostolic exhortation

Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity) signed 22 February 2007, released in Latin, Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Polish. It was made available in various languages 13 March 2007 in Rome. The English edition from Libera Editrice Vaticana is 158 pages. This apostolic exhortation “seeks to take up the richness and variety of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops…” which was held in 2006.[76]

Motu proprio on Tridentine Mass

A pre-1969 Latin Rite altar with reredos.
The high altar of a church was usually preceded by three steps, below which were said the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Side altars usually had only one step.

On 7 July 2007, Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, declaring that upon “the request of the faithful”, celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962 (commonly known as the Tridentine Mass), was to be more easily permitted. Stable groups who previously had to petition their bishop to have a Tridentine Mass may now merely request permission from their local priest.[77] While Summorum Pontificum directs that pastors should provide the Tridentine Mass upon the requests of the faithful, it also allows for any qualified priest to offer private celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, to which the faithful may be admitted if they wish.[78] For regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, the permission of the priest in charge of the church is required.[79]

In an accompanying letter, the Pope outlined his position concerning questions about the new guidelines.[78] As there were fears that the move would entail a reversal of the Second Vatican Council,[80] Benedict emphasised that the Tridentine Mass would not detract from the Council, and that the Mass of Paul VI would still be the norm and priests were not permitted to refuse to say the Mass in that form. He pointed out that use of Tridentine Mass “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”[78] The letter also decried “deformations of the liturgy … because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal” as the Second Vatican Council was wrongly seen “as authorising or even requiring creativity”, mentioning his own experience.[78]

The Pope considered that allowing the Tridentine Mass to those who request it was a means to prevent or heal schism, stating that, on occasions in history, “not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity” and that this “imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.”[78] Many feel the decree aimed at ending the schism between the Holy See and traditionalist groups such as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the president of the Pontifical Commission established for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of those associated with that Society,[81] stated that the decree “opened the door for their return”. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, expressed “deep gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this great spiritual benefit”.[77]

Unicity and salvific universality of the Catholic Church

Near the end of June 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document approved by Benedict XVI “because some contemporary theological interpretations of Vatican II‘s ecumenical intent had been ‘erroneous or ambiguous’ and had prompted confusion and doubt.”[82] The document has been seen as restating “key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, Dominus Iesus.”[82]


[icon] This section requires expansion. (June 2008)

Benedict XVI has condemned excessive consumerism, especially among youth. He stated in December 2007 that “[A]dolescents, youths and even children are easy victims of the corruption of love, deceived by unscrupulous adults who, lying to themselves and to them, draw them into the dead-end streets of consumerism.”[83]

In June 2009, he blamed outsourcing for greater availability of consumer goods which lead to downsizing of social security systems.[84]

Ecumenical efforts

Speaking at his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square on 7 June 2006, Pope Benedict asserted that Jesus himself had entrusted the leadership of the Church to his apostle Peter. “Peter’s responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the communion with Christ,” said Pope Benedict. “Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, may always be exercised in this original sense desired by the Lord, so that it will be increasingly recognised in its true meaning by brothers who are still not in communion with us.”

Also in 2006, Benedict met with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Communion. In their Common Declaration, they highlighted the previous 40 years of dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans while also acknowledging “serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress.”[85]

Benedict has also acknowledged the Lutheran church, saying that he has had friends in that organisation.

Dialogue with other religions

Pope Benedict is open to dialogue with other religious groups, and has sought to improve relations with them throughout his pontificate.[86][87] He has, however, generated certain controversies in doing so.


When Benedict ascended to the Papacy his election was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League who noted “his great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust“.[88] However, his election received a more reserved response from the United Kingdom’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who hoped that Benedict would “continue along the path of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II in working to enhance relations with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”[89] The Foreign Minister of Israel also offered more tentative praise, though the Minister believed that “this Pope, considering his historical experience, will be especially committed to an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism.”[89]

Critics have accused Benedict’s papacy of insensitivity towards Judaism. The two most prominent instances were the expansion of the use of the Tridentine Mass and the lifting of the excommunication on four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). In the Good Friday service, the traditional Mass rubrics include a prayer that asks God to lift the veil so they [Jews] may be delivered from their darkness. This prayer has historically been contentious in Judaic-Catholic relations and several groups saw the restoration of the Tridentine Mass as problematic.[90][91][92][93][94] Among those whose excommunications were lifted was Bishop Richard Williamson, an outspoken historical revisionist sometimes interpreted as a Holocaust denier.[95][96][97][98] The lifting of his excommunication led critics to charge that the Pope was condoning his historical revisionist views.[99]


Pope Benedict’s relations with Islam have been strained at times. On 12 September 2006 Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture which touched on Islam at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The pope had previously served as professor of theology at the university, and his lecture was entitled “Faith, Reason and the University—Memories and Reflections”. The lecture received much attention from political and religious authorities. Many Islamic politicians and religious leaders registered their protest against what they said was an insulting mischaracterisation of Islam, although his focus was aimed towards the rationality of religious violence, and its effect on the religion.[100][101] Muslims were particularly offended by the following quotation from the Pope’s speech:

Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.[101]

The passage originally appeared in the Dialogue Held with a Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia[102][103] written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason. According to the German text, the Pope’s original comment was that the emperor “addresses his interlocutor in an astoundingly harsh—to us surprisingly harsh—way” (wendet er sich in erstaunlich schroffer, uns überraschend schroffer Form).[104] Pope Benedict apologised for any offence he had caused and made a point of visiting Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, and praying in its Blue Mosque.

Pope Benedict XVI planned on 5 March 2008, to meet with Muslim scholars and religious leaders autumn 2008 at a Catholic-Muslim seminar in Rome.[105] That meeting, the “First Meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum,” was held from 4–6 November 2008.[106]

On 9 May 2009 H.H. Pope Benedict XVI visited the King Hussein Mosque, Amman, Jordan where he was addressed by H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal.[86]

Tibetan Buddhism

The Dalai Lama congratulated Pope Benedict XVI upon his election,[107] and visited him in October 2006 in the Vatican City. In 2007 China was accused of using its political influence to stop a meeting between the Pope and the Dalai Lama.[108]

Indigenous American beliefs

While visiting Brazil in May 2007, “the pope sparked controversy by saying that native populations had been ‘silently longing’ for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers.”[109] The Pope continued, stating that “the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture.”[109] President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez demanded an apology, and an indigenous organisation in Ecuador issued a response which stated that “representatives of the Catholic Church of those times, with honourable exceptions, were accomplices, deceivers and beneficiaries of one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity.”[109] Later, the pope, speaking Italian, said at a weekly audience that it was:

“not possible to forget the suffering and the injustices inflicted by colonizers against the indigenous population, whose fundamental human rights were often trampled.”[110]

International Society for Krishna Consciousness

While visiting the United States on 17 April 2008, Benedict met with International Society for Krishna Consciousness representative Radhika Ramana Dasa;[111] a notable Hindu scholar[112] and disciple of Hanumatpreshaka Swami.[113] On behalf of the Hindu American community, Radhika Ramana Dasa presented a gift of an Om symbol to Benedict.[114][115]

Apostolic ministry

Pope Benedict XVI in a Mercedes-Benz popemobile in São Paulo, Brazil

As Pontiff, Benedict XVI carries out numerous Apostolic activities including journeys across the world and in the Vatican.

Benedict travelled extensively during the first three years of his papacy. In addition to his travels within Italy, Pope Benedict XVI has made two visits to his homeland, Germany, one for World Youth Day and another to visit the towns of his childhood. He has also visited Poland and Spain, where he was enthusiastically received.[116] His visit to Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, was initially overshadowed by the controversy about a lecture he had given at Regensburg. His visit was met by nationalist and Islamic protesters[117] and was placed under unprecedented security measures.[118] However, the trip went ahead and Benedict made a joint declaration with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in an attempt to begin to heal the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In 2007, Pope Benedict visited Brazil in order to address the Bishops’ Conference there and canonize Friar Antônio Galvão, an 18th century Franciscan. In June 2007, Benedict made a personal pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. In September, Benedict undertook a three-day visit to Austria,[119] during which he joined Vienna’s Chief Rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in a memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps.[120] During his stay in Austria, he also celebrated Mass at the Marian shrine Mariazell and visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey.[121]

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 81st birthday with U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. The White House, Washington D.C.

In April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States since becoming pope.[122] He arrived in Washington, DC where he was formally received at the White House and met privately with U.S. President George W. Bush.[123] While in Washington, the pope addressed representatives of US Catholic universities, met with leaders of other world religions, and celebrated Mass at the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium with 47,000 people.[124] The Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests. The pope travelled to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.[125] Also while in New York, the pope celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, met with disabled children and their families, and attended an event for Catholic youth, where he addressed some 25,000 young people in attendance.[126] On the final day of the pope’s visit, he visited the World Trade Center site and later celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium.[127]

In July 2008, the Pope travelled to Australia to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. On 19 July, in St. Mary’s Cathedral, he made an apology for child sex abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Australia.[128][129] On 13 September 2008, at an outdoor Paris Mass attended by 250,000 people, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the modern materialism – the world’s love of power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague, comparing it to paganism.[130][131]

In 2009, he visited Africa (Cameroon and Angola) for the first time as a Pope. During his visit, he suggested that altering sexual behavior was the answer to Africa’s AIDS crisis, and urged Catholics to reach out and convert believers in sorcery.

He visited the Middle East (Jordan, Israel and Palestine) in May 2009.

Pope Benedict’s main arena for pastoral activity is the Vatican itself, his Christmas and Easter homilies and Urbi et Orbi are delivered from St Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican is also the only regular place where the Pope travels via motor without the protective bulletproof case common to most popemobiles. Despite the more secure setting Pope Benedict has been victim to security risks several times inside Vatican City. On Wednesday, 6 June 2007 during his General Audience a man leapt across a barrier, evaded guards and nearly mounted the Pope’s vehicle, although he was stopped and Benedict seemed to be unaware of the event. On Thursday, 24 December 2009, while Pope Benedict was proceeding to the altar to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, a woman later identified as 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo, who holds Italian and Swiss citizenships, jumped the barrier and grabbed the pope by his vestments and pulled him to the ground. The 82-year-old fell but was assisted to his feet and he continued to proceed towards the altar to celebrate Mass. Roger Etchegaray, 87, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, fell also and suffered a hip fracture. Italian police reported that the woman had previously attempted to accost the Pope at the previous Christmas Eve Mass, but was prevented from doing so.[132][133]

Pope Benedict XVI in Balzan, Malta.

In his homily, Pope Benedict forgave Susanna Maiolo[134] and urged the world to “wake up” from selfishness and petty affairs, and find time for God and spiritual matters.[132]

Between 17 and 18 April, Pope Benedict made an Apostolic Journey to the Republic of Malta. Following meetings with various dignitaries on his first day on the island, 50,000 people gathered in a drizzle for Papal Mass on the granaries in Floriana. The Pope also met with the Maltese youth at the Valletta Waterfront, where an estimated 10,000 young people turned up to greet him.[135] During his visit the Pope was moved to tears while expressing his shame at cases of abuse on the island during a 20-minute meeting with victims.[136]

Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

Prior to 2001, the primary responsibility for investigating allegations of sexual abuse and disciplining perpetrators rested with the individual dioceses. In 2001, Ratzinger convinced John Paul II to put the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in charge of all investigations and policies surrounding sexual abuse in order to combat such abuse more efficiently.[137][138] According to John L. Allen, Jr., Ratzinger in the following years “acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic Church can claim” and “driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as ‘filth’ in the Church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a ‘conversion experience’ throughout 2003–04. From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert’s zeal to clean up the mess”.[139] In his role as Head of the CFD, he “led important changes made in Church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statute of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders.”[140] As the Head of the CDF, Ratzinger developed a reputation for handling these cases. According to Charles J. Scicluna, a former prosecutor handling sexual abuse cases, “Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, sine acceptione personarum (without exceptions)”.[139][141]

One of the cases Ratzinger pursued involved Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest and founder of the Legion of Christ, who had been accused repeatedly of sexual abuse. Biographer Andrea Tornielli suggested that Cardinal Ratzinger had wanted to take action against Marcial Maciel Degollado, but that John Paul II and other high-ranking officials, including several cardinals and notably the pope’s influential secretary Stanisław Dziwisz, prevented him from doing so.[138][142] According to Jason Berry, Angelo Sodano “pressured” Cardinal Ratzinger, who was “operating on the assumption that the charges were not justified”, to halt the proceedings against Maciel in 1999[143] When Maciel was honored by the Pope in 2004, new accusers came forward[143] and Cardinal Ratzinger “took it on himself to authorize an investigation of Maciel”[138] After Ratzinger became pope he began proceedings against Maciel and the Legion of Christ that forced Maciel out of active service in the Church.[137] On 1 May 2010 the Vatican issued a statement denouncing Maciel’s “very serious and objectively immoral acts”, which were “confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies” and represent “true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment.” Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries’ constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate Regnum Christi.[144] Cardinal Christoph Schönborn explained that Ratzinger “made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican”.[137][145] According to Schönborn, Cardinal Ratzinger had pressed John Paul II to investigate Hans Hermann Groër, an Austrian cardinal and friend of John Paul accused of sexual abuse, resulting in Groër’s resignation.[142]

In March 2010, the Pope sent a Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland addressing cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to minors, expressing sorrow, and promising changes in the way accusations of abuse are dealt with.[146] Victim groups claim the letter failed to clarify if secular law enforcement has priority over canon law confidentiality pertaining to internal investigation of abuse allegations.[147][148][149][150] The Pope then promised to introduce measures that would ‘safeguard young people in the future’ and ‘bring to justice’ priests who were responsible for abuse.[136] In April, the Vatican issued guidelines on how existing Church law should be implemented. The guideline dictates that “Civil law concerning reporting of crimes… should always be followed.”[151] The guideline was intended to follow the norms established by U.S. bishops, but it does not require the reporting of “allegations” or crimes where reporting is not required by law.[152]

Pope Benedict XVI in choir dress with the red summer papal mozzetta, embroidered red stole, and the red papal shoes.


Pope Benedict XVI has re-introduced several papal garments which had previously fallen into disuse. Pope Benedict XVI resumed the use of the traditional red papal shoes, which had not been used since early in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Contrary to the initial speculation of the press that the shoes had been made by the Italian fashion house Prada, the Vatican announced that the shoes were provided by the pope’s personal shoemaker.[153]

On 21 December 2005, the pope once only wore the camauro, the traditional red papal hat usually worn in the winter. It had not been seen since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958–1963). On 6 September 2006 the pope began wearing the red cappello romano (also called a saturno), a wide-brimmed hat for outdoor use. Rarely used by John Paul II, it was more widely worn by his predecessors.


Prior to his election as Pope in 2005, Ratzinger had hoped to retire—on account of age-related health problems, a long-held desire to have free time to write, and the retirement age for bishops (75)—and submitted his resignation as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith three times, but continued at his post in obedience to the wishes of Pope John Paul II. In September 1991, Ratzinger suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, which slightly impaired his eyesight temporarily but he recovered completely.[154] This was never affirmed – the official news was that Ratzinger fell and struck his head against a radiator – but an open secret known to the Conclave that elected him Pope.[155]

Since his election in April 2005 there have been several rumors about the Pope’s health but none of them have ever been confirmed. Early in his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI predicted a short reign which led to concerns about his health.[156] In May 2005, the Vatican announced that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke. French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin further stated that since the first stroke, Ratzinger had been suffering from a heart condition as a result of his age, for which he is currently on medication. In late November 2006, Vatican insiders told the international press that the Pope had a routine examination of the heart.[155] A few days later an unconfirmed rumor emerged that Pope Benedict had undergone an operation in preparation for an eventual bypass operation but this rumor was only published by a small left-wing Italian newspaper and was never confirmed by any Vatican insider.[157]

On 17 July 2009, Benedict was hospitalized after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps. His injuries were reported to be minor.[158]


On 11 February 2013, the Vatican confirmed Pope Benedict would resign the papacy on 28 February 2013 as a result of his advanced age,[159] becoming the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415.[160] The move was considered unexpected.[161] In modern times, all popes have stayed in office until death. Benedict will be the first Pope to have resigned voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294, and the first to leave the Papal office while still alive since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. [5]

In a statement, Benedict cited his deteriorating strength and the physical and mental demands of the papacy.[162] He also declared that he would continue to serve the church “through a life dedicated to prayer”.[162]

The resignation annoucement comes as the Pope is apparently suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which could prevent him from fulfilling his duties.[163]

Benedict said, addressing his Cardinals in Latin:[164]

Dear Brothers,I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


Titles and styles

Papal styles of
Pope Benedict XVI
BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father

The official style of the Pope is His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI; in Latin, Benedictus XVI, Episcopus Romae.

However, his rarely used full title is: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.

Before 1 March 2006, the list of titles also used to contain that of a “Patriarch of the West“, which traditionally appeared in that list of titles before “Primate of Italy”. The title of “Patriarch of the West” was first adopted in the year 642 by Pope Theodore I, but was rarely used since the East-West Schism of 1054. From the Orthodox perspective, authority in the Church could be traced to the five patriarchates of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. However, some Catholic theologians have argued that the term “Patriarch of the West” has no clear historical or theological basis and was introduced into the papal court in 1870 at the time of the First Vatican Council. Pope Benedict chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centered on the issue of papal primacy.


Arms of Pope Benedict XVI
The coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI was designed by then Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo (who later was created a Cardinal) soon after the papal election. Benedict’s coat of arms has omitted the papal tiara, which traditionally appears in the background to designate the Pope’s position as a worldly ruler like a king, replacing it with a simple mitre, emphasising his spiritual authority.[165]
BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg
Gules, chape in or, with the scallop shell of the second; the dexter chape with a moor’s head in natural colour, crowned and collared of the first, the sinister chape a bear trippant in natural colour, carrying a pack gules belted sable
Scallop shell: The symbolism of the scallop shell is multiple; one reference is to Saint Augustine. While a doctoral candidate in 1953, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger wrote his dissertation on The People of God and the House of God in Augustine’s Teaching is always about the Church, and therefore has a personal connection with the thought of this great Doctor of the Church.
Moor of Freising: The Moor’s head is an heraldic charge associated with Freising, Germany.
Corbinian’s bear: A legend states that while travelling to Rome, Saint Corbinian’s pack horse was killed by a bear. He commanded the bear to carry the load. Once he arrived, he released it from his service, and it returned to Bavaria. The implication is that “Christianity tamed and domesticated the ferocity of paganism and thus laid the foundations for a great civilisation in the Duchy of Bavaria.” At the same time, Corbinian’s bear, as God’s beast of burden, symbolises the weight of office that Benedict now carries.

Positions on moral and political issues

Birth control and HIV/AIDS

In 2005, the Pope listed several ways to combat the spread of HIV, including chastity, fidelity in marriage and anti-poverty efforts; he also rejected the use of condoms.[166] The alleged Vatican investigation of whether there are any cases when married persons may use condoms to protect against the spread of infections surprised many Catholics in the wake of John Paul II’s consistent refusal to consider condom use in response to AIDS.[167] However, the Vatican has since stated that no such change in the Church’s teaching can occur.[168] TIME also reported in its 30 April 2006 edition that the Vatican’s position remains what it always has been with Vatican officials “flatly dismiss[ing] reports that the Vatican is about to release a document that will condone any condom use.”[168]

In March 2009, the Pope stated:

I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help, the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it. The solution must have two elements: firstly, bringing out the human dimension of sexuality, that is to say a spiritual and human renewal that would bring with it a new way of behaving towards others, and secondly, true friendship offered above all to those who are suffering, a willingness to make sacrifices and to practise self-denial, to be alongside the suffering.[169]

In November 2010, in a book-length interview, the Pope, using the example of male prostitutes, stated that the use of condoms, with the intention of reducing the risk of HIV infection, may be an indication that the prostitute is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity.[170] In the same interview, the Pope also reiterated the traditional teaching of the Church that condoms are not seen as a “real or moral solution” to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Further, in December 2010, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith explained that the Pope’s statement did not constitute a legitimization of either prostitution or contraception, both of which remain gravely immoral.[170]


During his time as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Benedict XVI made several efforts to tackle the issue of homosexuality within the Church and the wider world. In 1986 the CDF sent a letter to all bishops entitled: On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. The letter condemned a liberal interpretation of the earlier CDF document Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, which had led to a “benign” attitude “to the homosexual condition itself”. On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons clarified that the Church’s position on homosexuality was that “although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”[171] However the document also condemned homophobic attacks and violence, stating that “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”[171]

In 1992 he again approved CDF documents declaring that homosexual “inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder” and extended this principle to civil law. “Sexual orientation”, the document said, was not equivalent to race or ethnicity, and it declared that it was “not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account.”[172]

On 22 December 2008, the Pope gave an end of year message to the Roman Curia in which he talked about gender and the important distinction between men and women. The pope said that the church viewed the distinction as central to human nature, and “asks that this order, set down by creation, be respected”. He characterised gender roles which deviated from his view of what gender roles should be as “a violation of the natural order”. The church, he said, “should protect man from the destruction of himself”. He said a sort of ecology of man was needed, adding: “The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less.” He attacked what he described as gender theories which “lead towards the self-emancipation of man from creation and the creator”.[173][174]

LGBT groups such as the Italian Arcigay and German LSVD have announced that they found the Pope’s comments homophobic.[175] Aurelio Mancuso, head of Arcigay, saying “A divine programme for men and women is out of line with nature, where the roles are not so clear.”[173]

Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, claimed the Pope had not wished specifically to attack homosexuality, and had not mentioned gays or lesbians in his text. Father Lombardi insisted, however, that there had been an overreaction to the Pope’s remarks. “He was speaking more generally about gender theories which overlook the fundamental difference in creation between men and women and focus instead on cultural conditioning.” Nevertheless, the remarks were interpreted as a call to save mankind from homosexuals and transsexuals.[173]

Gay marriage

During a 2012 Christmas speech,[176] the Pope made remarks about the present-day interpretation of the notion of ‘gender‘. He stated that “sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves”, and “The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply”. Although he didn’t mention the topic, his words were interpreted by news media as denunciations of gay marriage,[177] with some sources adding that Benedict would have called it a threat to world peace similar to abortion and euthanasia.[178] In March 2012, he stated that straight marriage should be defended from “every possible misrepresentation of their true nature”.[179]

International relations

Migrants and refugees

In a message released 14 November 2006, during a Vatican press conference for the 2007 annual observance of World Day for Migrants and Refugees, the pope urged the ratification of international conventions and policies that defend all migrants, including refugees, exiles, evacuees, and internally displaced persons. “The church encourages the ratification of the international legal instruments that aim to defend the rights of migrants, refugees and their families,” the pope said. “Much is already being done for the integration of the families of immigrants, although much still remains to be done.”[180]

Benedict with then President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 13 March 2007

Pope Benedict has also promoted various UN events, such as World Refugee Day, on which he offered up special prayers for refugees and called for the international community to do more to secure refugees’ human rights. He also called on Catholic communities and organizations to offer them concrete help.[181]


In 2007 Benedict sent a letter at Easter to Catholics in China that could have wide-ranging implications for the church’s relationship with China’s leadership. The letter provides long-requested guidance to Chinese bishops on how to respond to illicitly ordained bishops, as well as how to strengthen ties with the Patriotic Association and the Communist government.[182]


On 13 November 2006, Benedict said the dispute over the North Korea nuclear weapons program should be resolved through negotiations, in his first public comment on the security issue, a news report said. “The Holy See encourages bilateral or multilateral negotiations, convinced that the solution must be sought through peaceful means and in respect for agreements taken by all sides to obtain the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” Benedict was talking to the new Japanese ambassador to the Vatican.[183]


In a 2004 Le Figaro interview, Ratzinger said that Turkey, which is demographically Muslim but governmentally secular by virtue of its state constitution, should seek its future in an association of Muslim nations rather than the European Union, which Ratzinger has stated has Christian roots. He said Turkey had always been “in permanent contrast to Europe and that linking it to Europe would be a mistake.”[184]

Later visiting the country to “reiterate the solidarity between the cultures,” it was reported that he made a counter-statement backing Turkey’s bid to join the EU. Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that the pope told him in their meeting that while the Vatican seeks to stay out of politics it desires Turkey’s membership in the EU.[185][186] However, the Common Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople implied that support for Turkey’s membership in the European Union would be contingent on the establishment of religious freedom in Turkey:[187] “In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion.”[188] The Declaration also reiterates Pope Benedict XVI’s call for Europe to preserve its Christian roots.


In May 2009 he visited Israel.[189][190] This was the third Papal visit to the Holy Land, the previous ones being made by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and Pope John Paul II in 2000.


Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng met at the Vatican on 25 January 2007 in a “new and important step towards establishing diplomatic ties”.[191] The Pope met with President Nguyễn Minh Triết on 11 December 2009. Vatican officials called the meeting “a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam.”[192]

Global economy

In 2009 the Pope intervened in global economic and political affairs with his third encyclical, Charity in Truth (Latin Caritas in Veritate), which can be viewed on the Vatican’s web site.[193] The document sets out the Pope’s position on the case for worldwide redistribution of wealth in considerable detail and goes on to discuss the environment, migration, terrorism, sexual tourism, bioethics, energy and population issues. The Financial Times has reported that the Pope’s advocacy for a fairer redistribution of wealth has helped set the agenda for the 2009 July G8 summit.[194][195]

Also included in Charity in Truth is advocacy for tax choice:

One possible approach to development aid would be to apply effectively what is known as fiscal subsidiarity, allowing citizens to decide how to allocate a portion of the taxes they pay to the State. Provided it does not degenerate into the promotion of special interests, this can help to stimulate forms of welfare solidarity from below, with obvious benefits in the area of solidarity for development as well.

Nuclear energy

Pope Benedict XVI has called for nuclear disarmament. At the same time, he has supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a tool for development and the fight against poverty. In his message for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he confirmed: “The Holy See, fully approving of the IAEA’s goal, has been a member from the organisation’s foundation and continues to support its activity.”[196]


Pope Benedict XVI after a musical concert offered to his honor. circa 2008.

Pope Benedict is known to be deeply interested in classical music,[11] and is an accomplished pianist.[197] He has a grand piano in his papal quarters. The Pontiff’s favorite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, of whose music the Pope said: “His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence.”[198] Benedict also stated that Mozart’s music affected him greatly as a young man and “deeply penetrated his soul.”[198] Benedict’s favorite works of music are Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet.[199]

Pope Benedict has recorded an album of contemporary classical music in which Benedict sings and recites prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[200] The album was set for release on 30 November 2009.

Pope Benedict is also known to be fond of cats.[11] As Cardinal Ratzinger he was known (according to former neighbours) to look after stray cats in his neighbourhood. A book called Joseph and Chico: A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI was published in 2007 which told the story of the Pope’s life from the feline Chico’s perspective. This story was inspired by an orange tabby Pentling cat, which belonged to the family next door.[201] During his trip to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008 the media reported that festival organizers lent the Pope a grey cat called Bella[202] in order to keep him company during his stay.[203]

In December 2012, the Vatican announced Benedict had joined social networking website Twitter, under the handle @Pontifex.[204] His first tweet was made on 12 December and was “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”[205]

Honours and awards

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Italian Wikipedia.

Pope Benedict is Grand Master of the following Orders: Supreme Order of Christ, Order of the Golden Spur, Order of Pius IX, Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great and the Order of St. Sylvester.

1977 Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Ecuador
1977 Knight Grand Cross of the Bavarian Order of Merit
1985 Grand Merit Cross with Star and Sash of the Federal Republic of Germany
1985 Constitutional Medal of the Bavarian State Parliament in Gold
1989 Ordine della Minerva at the University of Chieti
1989 Augustin Bea Prize (Rome)
1989 Karl-Valentin-Orden (Munich)
1991 Leopold Kunschak Prize (Vienna)
1991 Georg von Hertling Medal of Kartellverband katholischer deutscher Studentenvereine
1992 Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria
1992 Literature Prize Capri S. Michele in Anacapri
1992 Premio Internazionale di Cultura Cattolica, Bassano del Grappa
1993 literary prize Premio Letterario Basilicata per la Letteratura e Poesia religiosa Spirituale in Potenza (Italy)
1996 Knight of the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art
1998 Commander of the Legion of Honour (Legion d’Honneur) (France)
1999 Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
2002 Liberal Trieste
2004 Literature Prize Capri S. Michele in Anacapri
Honorary doctorates
1984 College of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; Honorary Doctor of Human Letters)
1986 Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru)
1987 Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
1988 Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)
1998 University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)
1999 Libera Università Maria SS Assunta Roma (Maria SS Assunta Free University, Rome) (honorary degree in law)
2000 Uniwersytet Wrocławski (University of Wroclaw, Poland; Honorary Doctor of Theology)
2005 Universatea Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca (Babeș-Bolyai University)
Honorary citizenships
1987 Pentling, near Regensburg, location of his main German residence
1997 Marktl, his birthplace
2005 Traunstein, location of the school and the study seminar he attended
2006 Altötting
2006 Regensburg, worked as a full, later as a visiting, professor
2006 Aschau am Inn, started school and received Mass for the first time
2007 Tittmoning, where he spent part of his childhood.
2008 Brixen, where he holidayed several times as a Cardinal and as Pope
2009 Mariazell, whose sanctuary he visited in 2007 as Pope
2009 Introd in the Aosta Valley, where he spent some of his summer holidays in 2005, 2006 and 2009
2010 Freising, where he studied, was ordained a priest in 1951, where he served from 1954–1957 lecturer at the Philosophical and Theological College and worked from 1977 to 1982 as archbishop of Munich and Freising
2011 Natz-Schabs in South Tyrol; Benedict’s grandmother Maria Tauber Peintner and his great-grandmother Elisabeth Maria Tauber both come from Natz-Schabs

The asteroid 8661 Ratzinger was dedicated to him, on the grounds of making accessible the Vatican archives and thus allow the historians to investigate miscarriages of justice against Galileo and other scientists in the Middle Ages.

Pope Benedict is an honorary citizen of Arconate, Romano Canavese


The following is a list of books written by Pope Benedict XVI arranged chronologically by English first edition. The original German first edition publication year is included in parentheses.

See also

Book icon


  1. ^ This book was originally published in German in four volumes: Die erste Sitzungsperiode des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (1963), Das Konzil auf dem Weg (1964), Ergebnisse und Probleme der dritten Konzilsperiode (1965), and Die letzte Sitzungsperiode des Konzils (1966).


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  6. ^ Walsh, Mary Ann (2005). From Pope John Paul II to Benedict XVI: an inside look at the end of an era, the beginning of a new one, and the future of the church. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 135. ISBN 1-58051-202-X.
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Further reading

Literature about him

  • Allen, John L.: Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican’s enforcer of the faith. – New York: Continuum, 2000
  • Benedetti, Amedeo: Il linguaggio di Benedetto XVI, al secolo Joseph Ratzinger. – Genova, Erga, 2012
  • Herrmann, Horst: Benedikt XVI. Der neue Papst aus Deutschland. – Berlin 2005
  • Nichols OP, Aidan: The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger: An Introductory Study. – Edinburgh; T&T Clark, 1988
  • Pater Prior Maximilian Heim: Joseph Ratzinger — Kirchliche Existenz und existenzielle Theologie unter dem Anspruch von Lumen gentium (diss.).
  • Twomey, D. Vincent, S.V.D.: Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age (A Theological Portrait). – San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007
  • Wagner, Karl: Kardinal Ratzinger: der Erzbischof in München und Freising in Wort und Bild. – München : Pfeiffer, 1977


  • Allen, John L. The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church. NY: Doubleday, 2005. ISBN 0-385-51320-8.
  • Allen, John L. Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN 0-8264-1786-8. This is a reprint of Allen’s 2000 book Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith.
  • Bardazzi, Marco. In the Vineyard of the Lord : The Life, Faith, and Teachings of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. New York: Rizzoli International, 2005. ISBN 0-8478-2801-8
  • Bunson, Matthew. We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 1-59276-180-1.
  • Campbell, Paul-Henri: Pope Benedikt XVI. Audio Book. Monarda Publishing House, 2012, ISBN 3-939513-80-6.
  • Pursell, Brennan, Benedict of Bavaria: An Intimate Portrait of the Pope and His Homeland (Circle Press, 2008). ISBN 1-933271-17-5.
  • Tobin, Greg. Holy Father : Pope Benedict XVI: Pontiff for a New Era. Sterling, 2005. ISBN 1-4027-3172-8.
  • Weigel, George. God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, Harper Collins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-621331-2.


Athirampuzha Church

The Church traces its existence back to 835 AD

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St. Mary’s Forane Church, Athirampuzha

The forane church of Athirampuzha, a world renowned pilgrim centre of St.Sebastian is dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary.This church about 10Kms away from kottayam has been the hub of Christian life in and around central kerala from early 9th century. This is one of the biggest parishes of the Archeparchy of Changanassery. It consists of almost 2500 families and the total number of the faithful exceeds 10000.

Athirampuzha church must trace back her history to the Ettonnussery Illam which was the power centre of the local kingdom. It is said that the Namboodiri of this Illam donated the land to build a church in the name of blessed virgin Mary as a token of gratitude on the Miraculous birth of his son. The Church was blessed on August 15th 835 AD. Gradually it became an independent church and later was elevated to the status of a forane in 1929. The church also witnessed many historical events like the historic journey of Mar Abraham Karivatti and paremakkal Thoma Kathanar to Rome, the All India Eucharistic congress-the first and the last of its kind in Kerala conducted from 8 th to 15th May 1929.

The Church is an exemplary specimen of ancient architecture. There were ancient stones with engravings and Thaliyollas in ‘Nanam Moonam’ alphabet kept in the church. Here there is a good collection of objects of historic, Artistic, Archival, Archaeological and anthropological interest in granite, wood, metal ,ivory, including Granite cross, Altar, Bells, Articles used in holy Qurbana …etc.


The present church was constructed during the time of Fr.Joseph Ithiparambil. The renovation began in 1962 and was consecrated by Mar Mathew Kavukattu, the Archbishop of Changanachery in 1966. The church, brilliantly enshrining the western architecture, in 180 feet tall and 55 feet wide. The ‘madbaha and Roopakoodu’ were build in Portuguese style. The intricate altar engraving, the awesome gothic structure, the three huge glockenspiels in the belfry, the well known Kalkurish and the renowned feast of St.Sebastian with all its traditional ethos and the magnificent pyrotechnics- all these adorn the church and its elegance.


The Cheriapally(Little or small church) is situated in the location where the first church was built and blessed in AD 835.It was renovated to the present form by Fr.Thomas Olakkapady and was blessed by his Excellency Kurialacherry Mar Thoma on January 22nd, 1919. Cheriapally is situated 200 meters away from the Valiapally. The Church is known in the name of St.Sebastian. Meeting the demands of the time, recently the church was renovated by very Rev. Dr. Mani puthiyidom.

The Church has two main feasts: the feast of St.Mary and the feast of St.Sebastian

The church dedicated to blessed virgin Mary Celebrates her feast on 3rd Sunday of September. This Festal celebration is commonly called as Kannimasa Perunal / naragana Perunal. The members of Darsans Samooham (a pious association) plays a major role in this feast. They participate in their special costumes in the mass and Procession.

As per the record, the feast of st.sebastian was started at Athirampuzha church from the year 1647.Now the principal festal week in from 19th to 26th of January every year. The flag hoisting ceremony marking the beginning of the festival is on 19th.The annual feast attracts a large no. of devotees from all over south India. The statue of St.Sebastian installed here is considered very ancient. During the days of the Portuguese, three figures were brought to kerala. Legend says that the smallest of them has brought to Athirampuzha by local traders. This is known as ‘Adiyelpicha Roopam’ (the Tortured Figure). The statue of St.Sebastian in Athirampuzha is unique as it is the only statue of the saint without arrowation is very attractive.

St Sebastian

St. Sebastian’s statue is exposed for public veneration only during the feastal season. The dazzling display of fireworks in connection with the festival is a colorful visual treat. The procession is a spiritual ablu for the devotees. Band set including school bands, flags, gold-brass-silver wooden crosses, allavattom, venchamaram, Thazahakkuda, theevetti and beaded ornate umbrellas etc make the procession very gorgeous and regal. Ettamidam extends the celebration for eight more days. The Festival comes to an end by February 1.


St.Mary’s Forane Church


Kottayam – 686562

Phone : 0481 2730 742, 0481 2730 559, 0481 2730 159

Email : athirampuzhachurch@gmail.com









ALUVA -683 112

                                                                                    MCBS GENERALATE, ALUVA


Dear Rev. Fathers,

“The ‘door of faith’ (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church.”—Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei

In the Acts of the Apostles we read that God has opened the door of faith for the early Church. But did you know that God has opened the door of faith for each one us and he invites us to step through the threshold into a deeper relationship with him. With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, “Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared that a “Year of Faith” will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, was the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council   and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith. The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Saviour of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.

In connection with the year of Faith MCBS Eucharistic Apostolate is privileged to organize a renewal program for our members.  It is the fine opportunity to renew our religious commitment basing on the study, reflection, and discussions on the official teachings of the Catholic Church on Religious life, namely Catechism of the Catholic Church Nos. 871-945, Perfectae  Caritatis, Redemtionis Donum, Vita Consecrata and other homilies of Popes. It was also one of the decisions of the 18th special General Synaxis (No.8) to organize renewal programs as part of our ongoing formation. So we humbly request you to co-operate, participate and take the best advantage of this renewal program. As we cannot conduct a new evangelisation without new evangelizers let us earnestly be prepared for the New Evangelization.

Yours Fraternally in the Eucharistic Lord

Frs. Jacob Naluparayil, George Theendapara & Jose Thundathil

Councillors for the Eucharistic Apostolate



Dear Rev.Fathers,

As all of you know the Holy Father Benedict XVI has declared the Year of Faith on 11th October 2012 which will be concluded on 24th November 2013. In preparation to this great event He has promulgated an apostolic letter under the title Porta Fidei explaining the aim of the Year of Faith and how we shall implement it in our life. The Bishops’ Synod to be held in October 2012 in Rome shall studied and discussed the New Evangelization. All these attempts aim at the renewal of the Church. All feel that there is an urgent need of an Aggiornamento – an updating of the Church with its contents. Since the Religious Life is the vital part of the Church, the renewal of the Church necessarily implies renewal of the Religious Life

The KCBC has also given norms for putting into practice in our context the guidelines given by Rome. There are nine action plans given by the KCBC to be adopted in the communities of consecrated people. We have to study them and bring them into action.

In His apostolic letter Porta Fidei Pope Benedict XVI writes: “One thing that will be of decisive importance in this Year is retracing the history of our Faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin. … By Faith, men and women have consecrated their lives to Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live obedience, poverty and chastity with Gospel simplicity, concrete signs of waiting for the Lord who comes without delay” (# 13) By this the Pope reminds us of the urgent need of renewal and revival of Religious life. Since faith is the source and constant stimulation of our religious consecration, strengthening of faith means the resurgence of our commitment.

Besides, our previous General Synaxis has earnestly recommended a renewal course in the whole Congregation which will help the members to revive the commitment they have made in religious profession. Imbibing inspiration from all these authentic sources the General Council has decided to conduct in this Year of Faith a renewal course for all the members of the Congregation. The members are divided into five groups according to their age. The department of Eucharistic Apostolate, headed by Rev.Fr.Jose Thundathil is entrusted to organize the course. He will inform you in time the details of the course.

My dear Fathers, I cordially invite each one of you to co-operate with the programme and participate actively in the course to which you are assigned. Consider it as a religious obligation. I am sure that this course will bring more life and vigor to our Congregation.

Fraternally Yours in the Eucharistic Lord,

Fr.George Kizhakkemury mcbs

Superior General





Dear Reverend Fathers/ Brothers,

It gives me real joy to join you in thanking and glorifying God for the great and benevolent love He has showered on the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) since its very conception. As we are on the threshold of Year of Faith let us acknowledge the commitment, courage and dedication of our Founding Fathers Very Rev Fr Mathew Alakkalam and Very Rev Fr Joseph Paredom and our forfathers. Let us appreciate their resolute faith, unwavering determination and unmatched self-sacrifice for the causes of the Universal Church particularly of the Syro Malabar Church.

The Year of Faith summons us to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world (Porta Fidei 6). Its an opportunity to experience a conversion – a return to Jesus and enter into a deeper friendly relationship with him. The Holy Father has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith” (Acts 14:27). The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year we are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ and His Church.

Year of Faith is closely associated with the New Evangelization recently launched by Pope Benedict XVI. It is a call to deepen our own faith, have confidence in the Gospel, and possess a willingness to share the Gospel. The New Evangelization is first and foremost a personal encounter with Jesus Christ; it is an invitation to deepen our relationship with Christ. It is also a call to share our faith with others. In the same the Year of Faith also calls religious to conversion in order to deepen our relationship with Christ and to share it with others.

The story of MCBS is the history of being witness to the Word of God. Our commitment to the Word is praiseworthy. A religious congregation like MCBS certainly exists to serve and love  people of God, to nurture them, motivate them, fit them morally and spiritually and above all to have an optimistic attitude towards life and its challenges. I am sure that the renewal programmes anchored by MCBS Eucharstic Apostolate Team in the Year of Faith for our members will provide ample opportunity to renew and strengthen our religious commitment. I wish and pray that all the MCBS members translate their dream in to reality, in their various fields of apostolates. “What the world is in particular need of today,” Benedict XVI wrote, “is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord”

I extend my heartiest congratulations and appreciation to  Rev Dr Jose Thundathil, the General Councilor, Rev Dr Jacob Naluparayil and Rev Fr George Theendappara, the Provincial Councilors for Eucharistic Apostolate, and all the members of Eucharistic Apostolate team. It is my fervent hope and prayer that the Good Lord will continue to guard, guide and sustain us to grow from strength to strength to His glory.

With prayerful regards, yours in Eucharistic Lord,

Fr Francis Kodiyan MCBS

Emmaus Provincial Superior



Precious Brother Priests

Prayerful greetings from our Zion.

 As we know, every fiber of our being is having tremendous ‘Mission Spirit’. That is why we earnestly wanted to reach the four corners of this planet to sow the seeds of THE WORD.

 At the same time we are to make a thorough examination of conscience about our faith life in particular and the faith life of the people whom we serve, in general. Let us humbly acknowledge the truth and fact that we are not up to the expectation of Jesus in this regard. What we are to do is just meditate upon:  Luke 22, 31-33, and do the needful.

 This is the opportune time to serve the purpose as Pope Benedict XVI declared ‘ Year of Faith’,  that truly focus on genuine and radical introspection upon the faith life of each one of us. Let us pray, think and work together with our Leader to regain and reinstate our solid faith life through our whole hearted support and cooperation in the programs headed by the Eucharistic Apostolate of our Congregation.

 Fraternally yours in the Eucharistic Lord

 Fr Jose Mulangattil

Provincial superior

MCBS Zion Province.



DATE             :  24,25 JANUARY 2013


  1. Arackal Mathew
  2. Arackal Sebastian
  3. Ayyampally Alex
  4. Ayyampally George
  5. Chittilappilly Inasoo
  6. Edayal Thomas
  7. Elavanal Zacharias (Batch Leader)
  8. Kadukanmackal Joseph
  9. Kalapura Antony
  10. Karathuruth Joseph
  11. Karimtholil George
  12. Karott Philip
  13. Kizhakkemury George
  14. Kizhakkemury Mathew
  15. Kizhakkethalackal Emmanuel
  16. Kizhakkethalackal Eppachen
  17. Konickal Joseph
  18. Konukunnel Sebastian
  19. Kottayarikil Cyriac
  20. Kuttickal George
  21. Kuttiyanil George
  22. Madathikandam Joseph
  23. Maleparambil Joseph
  24. Maliyil George
  25. Manampurath Jacob
  26. Mattam George
  27. Moloparambil Abraham
  28. Mulangattil Joseph
  29. Nadackal Augustine
  30. Palakkattukunnel Joseph
  31. Parackal Joy
  32. Paremackal Joseph
  33. Pathiyamoola Jose (Batch Leader)
  34. Pattery Thomas
  35. Peedikaparambil Jose
  36. Pooppallil Joseph
  37. Poovathumkal Sebastian
  38. Puthenpurayil John
  39. Puthiyidath Joseph
  40. Thekkekuttu Cyriac
  41. Therukattil George
  42. Valliyamthadathil Joseph
  43. Vallomkunnel Joy
  44. Vattapara Thomas
  45. Vellanickal Sebastian
  46. Vengasseril Xavier



DATE       :  21,22 FEBRUARY 2013


  1. Alavelil Varghese
  2. Akkanath Jacob
  3. Anthyamkulam Joseph
  4. Chencheril Mathew
  5. Kaipayil Joseph
  6. Kannamplackal George
  7. Karikunnel Vincent
  8. Karimankal James
  9. Kariyilakulam Tomy
  10. Kochukaniyamparambil Isaac
  11. Kochupurayil Abraham
  12. Kodiyan Francis
  13. Kozhimala Thomas
  14. Kunnumpuram Xavier
  15. Kuttickal Antony
  16. Meempuzha Kuriakose
  17. Meledath James
  18. Moonjely Kuriakose
  19. Morely Francis
  20. Mukaleparambil Kuriakose
  21. Mundattu Dominic
  22. Naduvilekunnekatt Thomas
  23. Naluparayil Jacob
  24. Olickal Mathew
  25. Paikkatt Augustine
  26. Painadath Jose George
  27. Plathottathil Thomas
  28. Plathottathil Tomy
  29. Puliyurumbil Mathew
  30. Punnassery Augustine
  31. Thadathil Thomas
  32. Thayil Varghese
  33. Theendappara George
  34. Thottankara Thomas
  35. Thundathil Jose
  36. Vallikattukuzhy George (Batch Leader)
  37. Valiyaparambil Cyriac
  38. Vadakkeputhenpura Mathew
  39. Vandanath Antony
  40. Vazhappally George
  41. Vettukattil Thomas (Batch Leader)



DATE             :  14,15 MARCH 2013


  1. Chennakkattukunnel Sebastian
  2. Cheruvamkalayil Kurian
  3. Chiramel Simon
  4. Chunayanmackal Alex
  5. Edamannel George (Batch Leader)
  6. Edapparackal Jose
  7. Elavathinkal Sebastian
  8. Elavumkal Joseph
  9. Kaithamattathil Mathew
  10. Kalapurackal Devasia
  11. Kallirikumkalayil Joseph
  12. Kanipallil Stephen
  13. Kanjiramparayil Thomas
  14. Karisseril Mathew
  15. Kochanichuvattil Joseph
  16. Koonathan Joseph
  17. Kumblanickal Joseph
  18. Kuzhikkattumyalil Jose George
  19. Madathiparambil Mathew
  20. Malamackal Cyril
  21. Maniyampara Joseph
  22. Manjaly John
  23. Mavelil John
  24. Muttamthottil Sebastian (Batch Leader)
  25. Nattuvazhiparambil Joseph
  26. Orapuzhickal Michael
  27. Pallath Thomas
  28. Parathottil Thomas
  29. Paruvanmoottil Varghese
  30. Pathiparambil Joseph
  31. Payyappallil Mathews
  32. Peedikackal George
  33. Peringalloor Sebastian
  34. Perumbattiikunnel Thomas
  35. Podippara Varghese
  36. Pulichumackal James
  37. Pullukalayil Abraham
  38. Puramchirayil Varghese
  39. Puthuparambil Joseph
  40. Thannickal Sebastian
  41. Thekkanal Xavier
  42. Thekkath Mathew
  43. Thuruthiyil Sebastian
  44. Valloppallil Mathew
  45. Varekkalam Joseph
  46. Vattakeril John



DATE             :  11,12 APRIL 2013


  1. Areekkattu Paul
  2. Attickal George
  3. Chelakunnel Joseph
  4. Edakkarott Augustine
  5. Elamplackal Dominic
  6. Ittiyappara Francis
  7. Kalarithara Varghese
  8. Kallarackal Abraham
  9. Kallupalam Joseph
  10. Kandavanathil John
  11. Kattoor George (Batch Leader)
  12. Kochuchira James
  13. Kolattukudy Varghese
  14. Koonananickal Joseph
  15. Kottupallil Thomas
  16. Kulakkottu Varghese
  17. Kunnathett Thomas
  18. Makkiyil Devasia
  19. Manickathukunnel Philip
  20. Mathoor Chacko
  21. Melukunnel Joseph
  22. Mundunadackal George
  23. Mylackal Stephen
  24. Naduviledath Thomas
  25. Nalukandathil Francis
  26. Njondimackal Martin
  27. Palathinkal Sebastian
  28. Pandiyamackal Joseph
  29. Pathiyaparambil Joseph
  30. Plathottathil Mathew
  31. Polethara Sebastin
  32. Pootharayil Sebastian
  33. Pulimoottil Kuriakose
  34. Punnakkalayil Cyriac
  35. Puthenchira Joseph
  36. Puthettupadavil John
  37. Thoonatt George
  38. Thottathil John
  39. Valikulath Sebastian
  40. Vathapallil Michael (Batch Leader)
  41. Vattamattathil Martin
  42. Venatt Kuriakose
  43. Vettarumuriyil John



DATE             :  23,24 MAY 2013


  1. Cheeramvelil Cherian
  2. Chekkathadathil Joseph
  3. Chellamtharayil Xavier
  4. Cherukattikalayil George
  5. Choorapoikayil Pius
  6. Chundelikattil Sebastian
  7. Edathinal Joseph
  8. Elakkadunaluparayil Martin
  9. Idimuzhithadathil Devasia
  10. Kadamthodu Mathew
  11. Kaduvannoor George
  12. Kalambukatt Mathew Joseph
  13. Kanjoothara Jose Anto
  14. Kochuparambil Joseph
  15. Koottakara Abraham
  16. Kottarathil Varghese
  17. Kottayil Nixon George
  18. Kudiyiruppil George
  19. Kureekombil Joseph
  20. Kuttarappallil Joseph
  21. Kuttentharappel James
  22. Kuzhivelithadathil John
  23. Kuzhiyadichira Thomas
  24. Madathikandathl Antony
  25. Mangalathil Mathew
  26. Manickathan Joseph
  27. Muttath Alex
  28. Njavarivaditharayil Joseph
  29. Olamkannel Joseph
  30. Palackal Abraham
  31. Paliyathil Chacko
  32. Palolil Thomas
  33. Panackachalil Varghese
  34. Panathara Varghese (Batch Leader)
  35. Parathanath John
  36. Paravakkadu Joseph
  37. Plakuzhiyil Joseph
  38. Polackal Jose
  39. Ponnadampackal Joseph
  40. Puthiyidathu Mathew
  41. Puthumana Thomas
  42. Thaipparambil Thomas
  43. Vathalloor Joseph
  44. Vavolil Joseph
  45. Vazheeparambil Joseph
  46. Vellaringatt Joseph (Batch Leader)





CONCECRETED LIFE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. (Nature and relevance of consecrated life, its Scriptural and theological aspects. Why does a Christian choose the religious life? Is religious life a superior way of Christian life? Chapter VI of Lumen gentium and the decree Perfectae caritatis imply a higher excellence when they refer to the “special” nature of this life (Lg 44; Pc 1), when they use comparatives in stating that religious are “more intimately consecrated” to Christ and enjoy a union with the Church by “firmer and steadier bonds” (Lg 44), and when they emphasize the “unique” eschatological sign value of the religious state (Lg 44; Pc 1). Rev. Dr. Francis Kodiyan mcbs



CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD (Official teachings of Catholic Church on Priesthood, priestly identity.  “Priests by sacred ordination and mission which they receive from the bishops are promoted to the service of Christ the Teacher, Priest and King. They share in his ministry, a ministry whereby the Church here on earth is unceasingly built up into the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in order that their ministry be carried on more effectively and their lives be better provided for, in pastoral and human circumstances which very often change…” (Presbyterorum Ordinis).

Rev. Dr. Mathew Olickal mcbs



NEW EVANGELIZATION The new evangelization is not a program; the mission of the Church is not a program. Our faith is a way of life. The mission entrusted to the apostles and to the whole Church is bold, specific, and deliberate, to teach and baptize all nations. The new evangelization requires new evangelizers. Evangelization will always contain as the foundation, centre and, at the same time, the summit of its dynamics. A clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ salvation is offered to all men, as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.

Rev. Dr. George Koilparambil



FAITH OF JESUS AND THE TRUST OF THE DISCIPLES. The faith lived and demonstrated by the Jesus of the Gospels is the basic foundation of the disciple’s faith. Jesus passionately engaged to cultivate in his disciples His own trusting faith in the Father. These being the fundamental constituents of Christian faith, i.e., the faith of every Christian, it is all the more so for us religious, who seek perfection of baptismal consecration. Anyone who undergoes such a faith formation is automatically oriented towards the proclamation of the gospel, or evangelization. How can a religious belonging to the MCBS, advance in his faith formation each day, in the context of the ministry he has undertaken? How can he discover innovative ways and means of evangelization within the charism and the context of MCBS ministries?

Rev. Dr. Jacob Naluparayil mcbs



MCBS  CONSECRATION (Nature, Charism and Challenges of MCBS Vocation, the founding Fathers of the Congregation have entrusted to its members, as their spiritual heritage, a religious life marked by love and single minded devotion to the Eucharistic Lord and missionary vitality. Its charism is to live and proclaim the Eucharistic mystery that is celebrated, to gather the children of God around the alter, to ‘praise God in the midst of His church, to take part in the sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s supper’ (SC 10) and up hold the real presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The members try to obtain this through their dedicated life and various apostolates (Constitution No.8).

Rev. Fr. Jose Peedikaparambil mcbs




09.00                                       Arrival

09.30                                       INAUGURATION and CLASS I

10.30                                       Tea break

11.00                                       CLASS II and DISCUSSION

12.20                                       Examination of Conscience

12.30                                       Lunch, Rest

03.00                                       CLASS III

04.00                                       Coffee

06.00                                       CLASS IV and DISCUSSION

07.15                                       HOLY HOUR, Supper

09.00                                       SAT SANG, Night prayers, To Bed


05.30                                       Rising

06.00                                       Morning Prayers, Meditation and Holy Mass

08.00                                       Break Fast

09.30                                       CLASS V

10.30                                       Tea break

11.00                                       CLASS VI and DISCUSSION

12.20                                       Examination of Conscience

12.30                                       Lunch, Rest

02.00                                       CLASS VII

03.00                                       Free

03.15                                       CLASS VIII and DISCUSSION

04.30                                       Coffee, Departure


Very  Rev. Fr. George Kizhakkemury (Chairman)

Very Rev. Fr. Francis Kodiyan (  “  )

Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Mulangattil (  “  )

Rev. Fr. Jose Thundathil (Coordinator)

Rev. Fr. Jacob Naluparayil (   “   )

Rev. Fr. George Theendapara (   “   )

Rev. Fr. Issac Kochukaniyamparambil

Rev. Fr. Thomas Kanjiramparayil

Rev. Fr. John Vattakkeril

Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Venatt

Rev. Fr. Pius Choorapoikayil

Rev. Fr. Joseph Vazheeparambil

Rev. Fr. Zacarias Elavanal (First Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. Jose Pathiyamoola (First Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. George Vallikattukuzhiyil (Second Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. Thomas Vettukattil (Second Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. Sebastian Muttamthottil (Third Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. George Edamannel (Third Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. Michael Vathapallil (Forth Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. George Kattoor (Forth Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. Joseph Vellaringatt (Fifth Batch Leader)

Rev. Fr. Varghese Panathara (Fifth Batch Leader)


Diocese / Eparchy of Kothamangalam

The eparchy of Kothamangalam was erected by Pope Pius XII through the Papal Bull ‘Qui in beati Petri Cathedra’ of July 29, 1956 separating the protopresbyterates – Arakuzha, Kothamangalam and Mailacombu- of the then Archeparchy of Ernakulam- Angamaly. Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhi was ordained as the first bishop of the eparchy in Rome on November 18, 1956. The inauguration of the eparchy and the installation of the new bishop took place on January 10, 1957. Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhi who guided the eparchy with paternal care and succeeded in curing the teething troubles of the eparchy retired after two decades of memorable ministry. His Excellency Mar George Punnakottil succeeded Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhi. He was ordained and was installed in office on April 24, 1977. The developmental programmes in the eparchy got new vigour and verve and there were new initiatives to augment this process. At present the Eparchy is constitute of 115 parishes. The continuous showering of the grace of God from His kingdom lead this eparchy to the service of successful 50 years and we commemorate this divine providence in 2007 with grant celebration.


Directories of the Eparchy of Kothamangalam

Eparchy of Kothamangalam – Directory 2012-13

Bulletin of the the Eparchy of Kothamangalam

Deivarajyam 2013 January



Mar George Madathilkandathil

Bishop Mar George Madathilkandathil

Moto: “സ്നേഹം ഒരിക്കലും അവസാനിക്കുന്നില്ല”  “Love Never Ends” (I Cor 13, 08)


Date of Birth : 1956-05-09


Mob : +91 485 2862237
Email : madathikandathil@gmail.com
  • Diocese image of Kothamangalam

Short History of Kothamangalam Diocese

Group: : Syro-Malabar
Phone : +91-485-28 62 236, +91-485-28 62 692, +91-485-28 61 625
Address : Bishop’s House,
P.B. No. 6,
Ernakulam district,
Kerala, India – 686 691.
Website : http://www.kothamangalamdiocese.org

The diocese of Kothamangalam was established in the year 1956, and inaugurated in January, 1957. Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhy was appointed as the first bishop of the diocese of Kothamangalam in 1957. On his retirement in 1977, Mar George Punnakkottil was appointed the bishop. The Kothamangalam diocese initially encompassed the areas of the current Idukki diocese also, until the new Idukki diocese was formed in 2002. The diocesan cathedral is St George’s Cathedral, located at the High Range Junction, the centre of Kothamangalam town. The eparchy covers 12 foranes, with 115 parishes. Recently the diocese was bifurcated to form Idukki diocese. Kothamangalam is a small town lying on the foothills of the Western Ghats and is referred to as The Gateway to the High Ranges. Until the recent past, the town was also a very important trading center for spices and hill produce. Kothamangalam is known for its old Christian churches and its prominent educational institutions. St. Thomas is believed to have preached in this place and converted about 240 Brahmin families to the Christian faith.

Located at (10°4’48″N 76°37’12″E) It is surrounded by the Archdiocese of Ernakulam and Madurai and the Dioceses of Kanjirapally, Palai, Idukki and Coimbatore. Situated in the centre of Kerala, the Eparchy of Kothamangalam with 4,800 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the taluks of Kothamangalam, Devikulam, Kunnathunad, Udumbanchola and Thodupuzha.

The diocese enjoys four seasons – Winter, Summer, South-West Monsoon and North-East Monsoon. The winter season starts with the end of the northeast monsoons i.e. from the later part of November lasting till the middle of February. During this season temperature is comparatively low. In the Highlands where the climate is cool throughout the year, winter temperatures often fall below 10?C. This season witnesses the lowest amount of rainfall. The flora is tropical. The heavy rainfall combined with moderate temperature and fertile soil support a luxuriant vegetation.

The diocese lies mainly on the highland consisting of the hills and forests respectively. The hilly or eastern portion is formed by a section of Western Ghats. Muvattupuzha and Periyar are the main rivers of which the latter flows through Thodupuzha, Muvattupuzha, Aluva, Kunnathunadu and Parur taluks. During rainy season these rivers are full and heavy floods affect the low-lying areas on the banks, but in the summer season they generally go dry and narrow. The Periyar is stretched over a length of 229 km.

Malayalam, English and Tamil are the spoken languages in the diocese.


Name Type
Catholic Population 2,26,900
Parishes 112
Diocesan Priests 236
Religious Priests 63
Total Priests 299
Religious Sisters 2,171
Religious Brothers 3
Ecclesiastical Institutions 3
Colleges 2
Schools 167
Professional Colleges 1
Orphanages 25
Hostels 10
Hospitals 14
Publications 2


Click here for the Official Website of the Eparchy of Kothamangalam

Click here for the Official Blog of the Eparchy of Kothamangalam


Diocese of Kothamangalam (Syro-Malabarese)

Dioecesis Kothamangalamensis

Show: All | General Information | Ordinaries | Historical Summary | Statistics | Affiliated Bishops, Living | Affiliated Bishops, Deceased


General Information

  • Type of Jurisdiction: Diocese
  • Erected: 29 July 1956
  • Metropolitan: Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabarese)
  • Syro-Malabarese Catholic Church of the Chaldean Tradition
  • Country: India
  • Square Kilometers: 4,840 (1,869 Square Miles)
  • Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6, Kothamangalam 686691, Kerala, India
  • Telephone: (0485)86.22.36
  • Fax: 86.15.55

Past and Present Ordinaries

Historical Summary

Date Event From To
29 July 1956 Erected Archdiocese of Ernakulam (Syro-Malabarese) Diocese of Kothamangalam (Syro-Malabarese) (erected)
15 January 2003 Territory Lost Diocese of Kothamangalam (Syro-Malabarese) Eparchy of Idukki (Syro-Malabarese) (erected)


Year Catholics Total Population Percent Catholic Diocesan Priests Religious Priests Total Priests Catholics Per Priest Permanent Deacons Male Religious Female Religious Parishes Source
1970 194,948 560,000 34.8% 165 37 202 965 50 1,565 142 ap1971
1980 242,950 200 47 247 983 56 1,693 179 ap1981
1990 334,390 805,990 41.5% 237 61 298 1,122 69 2,098 197 ap1991
1999 474,530 1,255,410 37.8% 280 104 384 1,235 214 2,738 213 ap2000
2000 495,520 1,273,130 38.9% 286 115 401 1,235 229 2,858 223 ap2001
2001 500,180 1,320,230 37.9% 273 124 397 1,259 241 2,867 225 ap2002
2002 400,318 1,194,318 33.5% 275 83 358 1,118 203 2,870 226 ap2003
2003 500,580 1,315,230 38.1% 274 122 396 1,264 272 2,661 227 ap2004
2004 206,270 702,300 29.4% 176 86 262 787 171 2,070 112 ap2005
2009 223,990 764,050 29.3% 176 96 272 823 186 2,256 115 ap2010

Note: Any changes in boundaries over time are not indicated in the above table.

Affiliated Bishops, Living

Affiliated Bishops, Deceased


Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Kothamangalam

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Kothamangalam is a Roman Catholic diocese in India, under the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. It was established by Pope Pius XII in 1957. Mar George Punnakottil served as the bishop until January 10, 2013, when his resignation was accepted by the synod. He will be succeeded by George Madathikandathil.[1]

Situated in the central region of the Indian state of Kerala, the Eparchy of Kothamangalam lies extended in Ernakulam and Idukkii districts of Kerala, neighbouring the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly, eparchies of Irinjalakuda, Idukki and Pala.

English: Picture of Vazhappilly church

English: Picture of Vazhappilly church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vazhappilly Church



[edit] Boundaries

North: River Chalakudy and northern boundary of Devicolam Taluk
East: Uzhavathadam River – Cheeyapara Waterfalls – Karimanal Power house – Kulamavu Dam (Eastern boundaries of Pazhampallichal, Neendapara, Rajagiri and Uppukunnu parishes)
West: Eastern boundaries of Thripunithara and Vallam of Ernakulam Archeparchy
South: Southern boundaries of Ramamangalam,Memuri,Marady and Arakuzha Villages of Marika Kara and Purapuzha and Karimkunnam Villages,Vazhipuzha River(Kingnithodu),eastern boundary of Velliamatam and southern boundary of Thodupuzha Taluk.

[edit] Population

The Kothamangalam Diocese has a total of approximately 231,300 faithful under its jurisdiction.

[edit] Foranes & Parishes

1.Kothamangalam Forane

1. Kothamangalam
2. Injoor
3. Kallelimedu
4. Keerampara
5. Kottapady
6. Kuruppampady
7. Kutthunkal
8. Kuttampuzha
9. Malippara
10. Manikandamchal
11. Mathirappilly
12. Nadukani
13. Nedungapra
14. Nellimattom
15. Njayappilly
16. Pooyamkutty
17. Thrikkariyoor
18. Urulanthanni
19. Vadattupara
20. Veliyelchaal
21. Vettampara
22. Allungal

2.Arakkuzha Forane

1. Arakuzha
2. Arikkuzha
3. Meenkunnam
4. Peringuzha
5. Perumballur
6. Thottakkara

3.Kaliyar Forane

1. Kaliyar
2. Koduvely
3. Mannukkad
4. Mundanmudy
5. Njarakkad
6. Thennathur
7. Thommankuthu
8. Vannappuram

4.Karimannoor Forane

1. Karimannoor
2. Cheenikkuzhy
3. Cheppukulam
4. Chilavu
5. Kaithappara
6. Malayinchi
7. Mulappuram
8. Neyyasserry
9. Pallikkamuri
10. Peringasserry
11. Thattakkuzha
12. Udumbannoor
13. Uppukunnu

5.Mailakkombu Forane

1. Mailakkombu
2. Ezhallur
3. Kaloor
4. Nakappuzha
5. Perumbillichira
6. Thazhuvamkunnu

6.Maarika Forane

1. Maarika
2. Kolady
3. Kuninji
4. Nediyasala
5. Purappuzha

7.Muthalakkodam Forane

1. Muthalakkodam
2. Chalasserry
3. Kodikkulam
4. Paarappuzha
5. Vandamattom
6. Vazhakkala

8.Muvattupuzha Forane

1. Holy Magi Forane Church, Muvattupuzha
2. St Sebastian’s Church Anicadu
3. Karakkunnam
4. Marady
5. Mekkadambu
6. Mudavoor
7. Muvattupuzha East
8. Randaar
9. Vazhappilly East

9.Unnukal Forane

1. Unnukal
2. Ambikapuram
3. Injathotty
4. Maamalakkandam
5. Neendapaara
6. Neryamangalam
7. Parikkanni
8. Pazhambillichal
9. Perumannur

10.Paingottoor Forane

1. Paingottoor
2. Kalvarigiri (Kulappuram)
3. Kadavoor
4. Mullaringad
5. Pothanikkad
6. Punnamattom
7. Rajagir (Vellallu)

11.Thodupuzha Forane

1. Thodupuzha
2. Alakkodu
3. Anjiri
4. Chittur
5. Kalayanthani
6. Kallanikkal
7. Methotty
8. Nazareth hill (Thoyipra)
9. Nediyakaad
10. Pannimattom
11. Ponnanthanam
12. Thalayanad
13. Thodupuzha East
14. Vettimattom

12.Vazhakkulam Forane

1. Vazhakulam
2. Ayavana
3. Beslehem
4. Enanelloor
5. Kadalikkad
6. Kalloorkkad
7. Kavakkad
8. Nadukkara
9. Vadakodu

[edit] Priests

Priests belonging to the Eparchy 226
Priests working outside 46
Priests out for studies 8
Priests Retired 25

[edit] Educational institutions

University Colleges 2
Engineering College 1
Self financing colleges 3
Teacher Training College 1
Technical Schools 6
Higher Secondary Schools 21
High Schools 20
Upper Primary Schools 26
Lower Primary Schools 51
Unrecognized Schools 4
Nursery Schools 53

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Kothamangalam is a Roman Catholic diocese in India, under the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. It was established by Pope Pius XII in 1957. Mar George Punnakottil served as the bishop until January 10, 2013, when his resignation was accepted by the synod. He will be succeeded by George Madathikandathil.[1]

Situated in the central region of the Indian state of Kerala, the Eparchy of Kothamangalam lies extended in Ernakulam and Idukkii districts of Kerala, neighbouring the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly, eparchies of Irinjalakuda, Idukki and Pala.

Vazhappilly Church



[edit] Boundaries

North: River Chalakudy and northern boundary of Devicolam Taluk
East: Uzhavathadam River – Cheeyapara Waterfalls – Karimanal Power house – Kulamavu Dam (Eastern boundaries of Pazhampallichal, Neendapara, Rajagiri and Uppukunnu parishes)
West: Eastern boundaries of Thripunithara and Vallam of Ernakulam Archeparchy
South: Southern boundaries of Ramamangalam,Memuri,Marady and Arakuzha Villages of Marika Kara and Purapuzha and Karimkunnam Villages,Vazhipuzha River(Kingnithodu),eastern boundary of Velliamatam and southern boundary of Thodupuzha Taluk.

[edit] Population

The Kothamangalam Diocese has a total of approximately 231,300 faithful under its jurisdiction.

[edit] Foranes & Parishes

1.Kothamangalam Forane

1. Kothamangalam
2. Injoor
3. Kallelimedu
4. Keerampara
5. Kottapady
6. Kuruppampady
7. Kutthunkal
8. Kuttampuzha
9. Malippara
10. Manikandamchal
11. Mathirappilly
12. Nadukani
13. Nedungapra
14. Nellimattom
15. Njayappilly
16. Pooyamkutty
17. Thrikkariyoor
18. Urulanthanni
19. Vadattupara
20. Veliyelchaal
21. Vettampara
22. Allungal

2.Arakkuzha Forane

1. Arakuzha
2. Arikkuzha
3. Meenkunnam
4. Peringuzha
5. Perumballur
6. Thottakkara

3.Kaliyar Forane

1. Kaliyar
2. Koduvely
3. Mannukkad
4. Mundanmudy
5. Njarakkad
6. Thennathur
7. Thommankuthu
8. Vannappuram

4.Karimannoor Forane

1. Karimannoor
2. Cheenikkuzhy
3. Cheppukulam
4. Chilavu
5. Kaithappara
6. Malayinchi
7. Mulappuram
8. Neyyasserry
9. Pallikkamuri
10. Peringasserry
11. Thattakkuzha
12. Udumbannoor
13. Uppukunnu

5.Mailakkombu Forane

1. Mailakkombu
2. Ezhallur
3. Kaloor
4. Nakappuzha
5. Perumbillichira
6. Thazhuvamkunnu

6.Maarika Forane

1. Maarika
2. Kolady
3. Kuninji
4. Nediyasala
5. Purappuzha

7.Muthalakkodam Forane

1. Muthalakkodam
2. Chalasserry
3. Kodikkulam
4. Paarappuzha
5. Vandamattom
6. Vazhakkala

8.Muvattupuzha Forane

1. Holy Magi Forane Church, Muvattupuzha
2. St Sebastian’s Church Anicadu
3. Karakkunnam
4. Marady
5. Mekkadambu
6. Mudavoor
7. Muvattupuzha East
8. Randaar
9. Vazhappilly East

9.Unnukal Forane

1. Unnukal
2. Ambikapuram
3. Injathotty
4. Maamalakkandam
5. Neendapaara
6. Neryamangalam
7. Parikkanni
8. Pazhambillichal
9. Perumannur

10.Paingottoor Forane

1. Paingottoor
2. Kalvarigiri (Kulappuram)
3. Kadavoor
4. Mullaringad
5. Pothanikkad
6. Punnamattom
7. Rajagir (Vellallu)

11.Thodupuzha Forane

1. Thodupuzha
2. Alakkodu
3. Anjiri
4. Chittur
5. Kalayanthani
6. Kallanikkal
7. Methotty
8. Nazareth hill (Thoyipra)
9. Nediyakaad
10. Pannimattom
11. Ponnanthanam
12. Thalayanad
13. Thodupuzha East
14. Vettimattom

12.Vazhakkulam Forane

1. Vazhakulam
2. Ayavana
3. Beslehem
4. Enanelloor
5. Kadalikkad
6. Kalloorkkad
7. Kavakkad
8. Nadukkara
9. Vadakodu

[edit] Priests

Priests belonging to the Eparchy 226
Priests working outside 46
Priests out for studies 8
Priests Retired 25

[edit] Educational institutions

University Colleges 2
Engineering College 1
Self financing colleges 3
Teacher Training College 1
Technical Schools 6
Higher Secondary Schools 21
High Schools 20
Upper Primary Schools 26
Lower Primary Schools 51
Unrecognized Schools 4
Nursery Schools 53

Mar George Madathikandathil, Bishop of Kothamangalam മാര്‍ ജോര്‍ജ്ജ് മഠത്തിക്കണ്ടത്തില്‍

Mar George Madathikandathil 01

Mar George Madathikandathil, Bishop of Kothamangalam

അഭിവന്ദ്യ മാര്‍ ജോര്‍ജ്ജ് മഠത്തിക്കണ്ടത്തില്‍ പിതാവ്, കോതമംഗലം രൂപതയുടെ പുതിയ അമരക്കാരന്‍  

Mar George Madathikandathil 03 Mar George Madathikandathil 11 Mar George Madathikandathil 14 Mar George Madathikandathil 15

News: Fr George Madathikandathil is new Bishop of Kothamangalam Diocese

Fr George Madathikandathil has been appointed the new Bishop of the Diocese of Kothamangalam. He succeeds Mar George Punnakkottil, who is retiring from administrative responsibilities after 36 years of service.

The new bishop was elected at the Bishops’ Synod being held at Mount St Thomas, the head headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Church. The order appointing Fr Madathikandathil was read out by Cardinal Mar George Alancherry at a small function, which was attended by bishops, priests, nuns and leaders of Laity organisations. The appointment order was simultaneously read out at Vatican. Election  of the new Bishop has been endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Fr Madathikandathil, 57, is presently serving at the St Mary’s Forane Church, Arakuzha. He had earlier served as a Rector of Major Seminary, Vadavathoor.

Born to Madathikandathil Mathew and Eliyamma, of Purapuzha, near Thodupuzha, on May 9, 1957, he joined the seminary in 1971. He was ordained by Mar George Punnakkottil in 1980.

He left for Rome for higher studies in 1984. After securing a doctorate from Oriental Institute, Rome, he returned to Kerala in 1990. Back home, after higher studies, he served as priest at Bethel parishes and a Judge at the Ecclesiastical Court of the Diocese of Kothamangalam.

He had been the parish priest at Njarakkal, teacher and Vice-Rector of the Vadavathoor seminary. He was appointed the parish priest of St Mary’s Forane Church, Arakuzha, in 2010.


Kothamangalam Diocese , New Bishop , Fr. George Madathikandathil

The Syro-Malabar Church has named Father George Madathikandathil as the new bishop of the Kothamangalam diocese in Kerala with papal approval.

The appointment was made public in Rome on Thursday 4:30 (IST) and in Mount St. Thomas, the Sryo-Malabar Church headquarters, in Kochi.

The Synod of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church selected the new bishop from a panel of names approved by the Vatican for the post.

Fr. Madathikandathil succeeds Bishop George Punnakottil, who resigned after serving the diocese for 36 years. The new bishop is the third leader of the diocese.

The consecration of the new bishop is scheduled for Feb.9.

The diocese has total Catholic population of 226,900 people. It was bifurcated to form Idukki diocese.

Medieval Church History

Medieval Church History

Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel


1 The papacy‘s alienation from Byzantium and rapprochement with the Franks.

 1)      Christendom at the beginning of the Eighth century

Eugen Ewig says: “Dark clouds hung over the Christian world as the seventh century gave way to the eighth”. The reasons are the following:

 i) The loss of the two ancient and highly civilized Christian lands, Africa and Spain to Islam. Carthage fell in 658 and by the first years of the eighth century Africa withdrew from the Christian cultural community. What was left of the Chri­stian minority grew smaller and lost all historical significance.

By the second decade of the eighth century the Muslims conquered Spain. It was mainly the work of Musa, Muslim governor of Africa, The church continued to exist in Muslim Spain, but more and more lost contact with free Christendom.

The Arabs assaulted the walls of Constantinople in 717 and 718, but emperor Leo III defended the city and became the saviour of Christendom. In 733 Charles Mertel brought the Arabs’ advance to an end in the west also. Though the church lost Africa and Spain, central and Eastern Europe was protected from Islam.

 2. The dissociation of Rome from the ancient Empire whose Center was Constantinople. There was unity in the empire. The empire was not only a political but also a spiritual reality in which the popes lived no less than emperors, despite the conflicts constantly breaking out since the Henotikon of 482. These conflicts were chiefly religious and ecclesiastical in nature, even though an Italian-Greek opposition was distinct in them. The popes became Italy’s spokesman, but at the same time they spoke for a religious and ecclesiastical group, which still saw the empire as a unity. It should not cause surprise that Greek and oriental influence reached its zenith at Rome with the restoration of peace in the church in 681. Of the 13 popes between 678 and 752, 11 were Sicilians, Greeks, or Syrians. Under eastern influence the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the four great Marian feasts, Purification, Annunciation, Assumption, and Birthday, were introduced in Rome; they are 2 first attested under pope Sergius I (687-701). The monasteria diaconiae, founded in sixth and seventh centuries, displayed Greek and oriental liturgical practices. They gathered around the ancient palatium of the emperors, which had become the Roman residence of the Byzantine exarch. There were Greek colonies, churches and monasteries in Rome.

     The monasteria diaconiae’s directors played a role in the group of papal advisers, although they had not been admitted to the circle of deacons. The college of deacons, which had consti­tuted the papal council up to Gregory the Great, was nolonger the only influential body. Steaphen III (768-72) regulated the duties of the seven later cardinal bishops in the liturgical celebrations in the Roman basilicas. The number of the titular churches has been raised from 25 to 28. Thus the circle of the future cardinals became gradually more distinct in the early years of the 8th c.

      In addition to the clergy, the high bureaucracy of the indices became much more prominent in the latter part of the seventh century.

  • Those who managed the chancery
  • The head of the church’s attorneys
  • Income expenditure
  • Care of the poor and the pilgrims
  • Those directed the papal household
  • Treasury and wardrobe
  • In charge of library and archives
  • Director of city notaries

The Greek and oriental popes were loyal to the emperor, but in ecclesiastical questions they represented the Roman viewpoint. The Syrian Sergius I rejected the Quinisext council of 692, which attached ecumenical validity to such Greek customs as clerical marriage, and various details of fasting and liturgy.

3. The formation of the papal state.

          From 754 to 1870 the bishop of Rome was both the head of the universal church and secular ruler of the territory of central Italy, known as the papal state or the patrimony of St. Peter. Four factors contributed to the formation of the papal state:

      1. The Lombard wars

      2. The weakness of Byzantine Empire.

      3. Various religious disputes especially iconoclasm.

4. The alliance between the papacy and the Pranks.

Papal state: It is a term to designate the private property in the form of landed estates owned by the Church as its endowment. These estates had accumulated over centuries since Constantine’s decree on 321 permitting the church to own property. Constantine’s own generosity and the donations of the wealthy Romans built the patrimony into considerable holdings in the vicinity of Rome, in northern Italy, Dalamatia, Southern Italy and Sicily. The popes drew revenues from them for ecclesiastical administration, construction and maintenance of buildings, charity etc.

1. The Lombards wars. The invasion of the Lombards in 563had two results: 1) it disrupted the unity of Italy 2) it brought the pope to the fore as the most prominent figure in Italian affairs. When the Lombards invaded Italy, the Byzantine emperor was not in a position to defend Italy against them. He was occupied with the Persians and Muslims. At this time the Pope emerged as the man to whom all turned for leadership. Pope Gregory had made a treaty with the Lombards and through his missionary endeavors Catholicism had become the official Lombard religion as early as 650.

Pope Gregory II (715-731) was a Roman pope. During his time the Lombard king Liutprand (712-744) invaded Italy. Emperor Leo failed to defend Italy. Besides he levied heavy taxes. Rebellions broke out and the Byzantine exarch was assassinated. The new exarch Eutychius tried unsuccessfully to procure Gregory’s assassination because of the pope’s stand against the emperor’s law concerning iconoclasm and taxation. Then the exarch allied with Liutprand in 729 to capture Rome. But the king withdrew at the entreaties of Gregory. . Again the pope helped the exarch to suppress a revolt against the emperor. All these increased the papal prestige.

4. During the time of Gregory III (731-741) there was an invasion from the part of Lombards. Then he turned to Charles Martel (716-741), the king of the Franks. But Martel respectfully declined to come to the aid of the Romans because his good relations with Liutprand.

     Pope Zacharyi (741-752) improved the situation by inducing Liutprand to retire from Rome. He accepted the proposal and rest­ored the four towns and concluded a treaty promising peace for twenty years. Zachary’s intervention to protect Ravenna from the hands of the Lombards was successful. Ratchis (744-749), successor of Liutprand became a monk at Monte Cassino.

In 741 Pepin the short became the king of the Franks. Some believe that St. Boniface in his capacity as papal vicar anointed Pepin in a religious ceremony at the coronation, in 751.

   During the time of pope Stephen III (752-757) again there was invasion of the Lombards under their king Aistulf. Then he secretly contacted Pepin requesting an escort for a journey Into France. Pepin sent ambassadors to accompany the pope, but just before their departure legates from Constantinople arrived ordering pope to visit Aistulf personally to try again to win back the exarchate. It was failed. So Stephen went to Gaul and met Pepin in January 754. He was the first pope to venture over the Alps.

       Stephen was respectfully received and an agreement was signed at Quierzy. They demanded Aistulf to surrender the ands taken from the empire. Stephen bestowed on Pepin the Byzantine honorary title of Patrician and reanointed him Frankish king. He also consecrated Pepin’s sons and forbade the Franks under penalty of excommunication to recognize any king outside of Pepin’s family.

   Since Aistulf refused to relinquish his conquests, Pepin invaded Lombardy. After a short campaign the Lombard king yiel­ded and promised to restore Rave ring, and other areas, but the restoration was not to be to Byzantium but to the pope. All the events of 754 indicate that pope severed his allegiance to Constantinople and made a new alliance with the Franks.

Donation of Pepin

Aistulf did not fulfill his promises and he even advanced on Rome in January 756 and put the city under siege. At the request of the pope, Pepin overwhelmed the Lombards. This time a document was prepared repeating Pepin’ s promises at Quierzy and enumerating specific cities to be turned over by the Lombards to the pope. This charter is known as ‘Donation of Pepin ‘. Thus the ‘papal state’ did become a reality. It comprised the duchy of Rome and the exarchate of Ravenna with the Pentapolis. Officials and people took an oath to the pope, and a papal administration was set up. Abbot Fulrad visited each city and collected the keys to their gates and presented them to the pope.

    Aistulf died in 756 December. His successor Desiderius did not fulfill his promises to cede certain cities to the pope. Pope Paul I (757-767) sought help of Pepin who declined to intervene and make another expedition to Italy.

     Paul I died on 2b June 767. It was followed by a reaction on the part of the Roman military aristocracy. They grouped around Duke Toto of Nepi. Toto had his brother Constantine acclaimed as pope by his friends and dependants. On 5 July 767 Constantine mounted the throne of Peter. He was elevated under doubtful circumstances and worked zealously but vainly to_ obtain recognition by the king of the Franks. Meanwhile he was the unchallenged master of Rome for more than a year. His opponent Christopher, friend of Paul left Rome and against his promise went to the duke of Spoleto and to the king Desiderius asking their help. They entered the city and murdered Toto. Constantine interned in the monastery of San Saba was blinded by a gang. Meanwhile the Lombards declared a very old monk Philip as pope. But Christopher intervened and sent Philip back to the monastery. Both elections of Constantine and Philip were declared invalid.

    On 1 August a regular election meeting was held and the priest of Santa Cecilia, Stephen was unanimously elected Pope. On 7 August Stephen IV was consecrated bishop of Rome. Pope sent an envoy to France but they could not meet Pepin who died on 24 September 768.

Iconoclasm. = Breaking of Images.

1) The first phase of iconoclasm (730-775).

It was in the sixth and seventh centuries that icons entered on their victorious progress as cult images, which was powerfully accelerated by rampant popular credulity, legends and miracles. Numerous miraculous icons appeared, images of not made by human hands, of Mary by the painter-evangelist Luke, icons which had fallen from heaven, which bled, which resisted the enemies of the cult, which guarded cities, cured the sick, brought back the dead.

The initiator of iconoclasm was the emperor Leo III the Syrian (717-741). He was already subject to Islamic or Jewish influences and hence he was predisposed to hostility to images, and his closest advisers had been recruited from among iconoclasts. These are conjectures without any proper historical proof.

There is another opinion that the initiative lay not with the emperor but with ecclesiastical circles – the bishops of Asia Minor. Early 720s they went to Constantinople in order to induce the Patriarch Germanus to take steps against the cult of images. Germanus refused but did not attribute any particular significance to the matter. Perhaps on this occasion the bishops also called on the emperor and found a more sympathetic ear. Back in their dioceses they began to remove cult images on their own responsibility and forbid their veneration, apparently with­out encountering any great opposition. In 726 an imperial announcement was made consisting of an exhortation to the people no longer to honour icons but rather to get rid of them. Then the emperor removed the famous icon of Christ at the Chalke Gate of the palace. It followed a riot; some of the soldiers directed to remove the image were killed. The culprits were either banished or fined. Patriarch Germanus opposed the move but continued in office, despite his discreet opposition.

     On 17 January 730 the emperor published an edict against the cult of images. Germanus had to abdicate but was able to end his days in peace on an estate. Anastasius his successor supported the imperial policy. From this edict started the persecution by the iconoclasts. Many clerics, monks and devout laypersons obtained martyr’s crown. Though iconoclasm was a religious issue, it entered upon an acute and politically dangerous stage. The emperor’s intransigent attitude contributed essentially to alienate Italy from the empire, and to promote rapprochement with the Franks. Leo died in 741. Constantine v (741- 775) succeeded.

The intellectual basis for the dispute over the cult image very quickly appeared. The Syrian monk John Damascene provided the iconodules with the christological and soteriological arguments on behalf of icons. The icon theology of this period did not confine itself to reasons drawn from liturgy and morality but immediately lifted the subject to the highest dogmatic plane. It fought the war by means of arguments from the theology of creation and from Christology against Manichaeism and Monophysitism respectively. The opponents were unable to remain content with pointing to the danger of idolatry. A general council appeared as a necessity to decide the matter.

A general council met on 10 February 754at Hiereia, an imperial palace on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. Whether the pope and the oriental patriarchs were invited is unknown. They were not represented and it constituted the argument against the ecumenicity of this synod. Metropolitan Theodore of Ephesus, one of the first champions of iconoclasm presided. There were 338 fathers, the sessions continued till 8 August. Both making and honouring of icons were condemned. Like the emperor the synod also discovered in the Eucharist alone an adequate image of Christ.

 The strong opposition to iconoclasm was from the monastic circles. There is a conjecture that the monastic world attacked the decree on economic reasons – because they ruined its lucrative icon market. Another reason may be that the monks were closer to popular devotion, more attached to icons, than were the bishops. The emperor persecuted the monks, confiscated their monasteries, transformed into barracks and enrolled the monks in the army. An imperial governor went even further, forcing monk and nuns to abandon celibacy. The monks were also tortured and banished.

The leader of the opposition was Abbot Stephen the younger of Mount Auxentius in Bithynia. He met death by being handed over to the rage of a mob. The monasteries of Bithynia were depopulated, because the monks were either in exile or in prison. Churches were wrecked or profaned, and the monastic way of life was exposed to ridicule. The monastic circles from their part proceeded with violent pamphlets against the emperor, such as, the treatise Ad Constantinum Caballinum, incorrectly attributed to John Damascene. The number of the martyrs of this period was not very great. Constantine died in 775.

The restoration of the icons

Leo IV (775-780) did not envisage any restoration of the cult of images, but he seems to have abolished his father’s excessive measures of persecution. Following his death, his widow Irene came to power for her minor son, Constantine VI. She was in favour of the images; she reopened the monasteries. Since Synod of Hiereia was regarded as ecumenical and its decrees were in force, restoration could be effected only by another council. It required the consent of the patriarch. Patriarch Paul, though not an iconoclast of any great importance, had once sworn to obey the decrees of Hiereia. Paul resigned on the ground of sickness. Irene selected a layman as the head of the church.  Tarasius was consecrated bishop of Constantinople on 25 December 784.

  In the spring of 785 Tarasius sent the Holy See the noti­fication of his elevation in the so-called synodical. The letter included a profession of faith, which contained the orthodox doctrine of the images, mentioned his demand for an ecumen­ical council and asked the pope to send two representatives. Irene also made known to the pope of her plans to convoke a council and the election of Taracius. Pope Hadrian recognized the election of Tarasius and hailed the empress’s plan for a council. He also appointed two representatives and expressly emphasized his right to confirm the decrees of the council. The Oriental patriarchs were invited but they could not parti­cipate because of the hindrance from the Islamic authorities.

The proposed council met in the church of the Apostles on 1 or 17 August 787. The imperial guards invaded the building during the very opening session and put an end to the meeting. Then the site of the council was changed to Nicea and was solemnly opened on 28 September 787. The council declared the veneration of icons to be the orthodox doctrine, condemned iconoclasm as a heresy and ordered the destruction of iconoclast writings. This veneration was sharply distinguished from real adoration. Veneration itself was justified by its relation to the person represented by the image. The moral value of the cult was properly stressed, but no distinction was made between the Cross, images of Christ and the image of the saints.

The closing session was at Constantinople on 23 October 787. Some 22 disciplinary laws were passed. Peace seen to have been restored in the Orthodox Church. But Iconoclasm was not yet dead.

Since Irene would not ct retire, Constantine VI with the help of the military and the iconoclasts made a plot against her. But it was discovered and the empress took vigorous action. She demanded of the army an oath that guaranteed her position as co ruler. In 790 the army proclaimed Constantine as so1e ruler, and Irene yielded and withdrew. But after two years she had re-established her position as co ruler. Constantine lost the support of the troops and he was so isolated himself. Then the troops sought to raise his uncles, brothers of Leo, to the throne. The attempt was suppressed in blood. Now Constantine lost the support of the troops and of his mother.

Irene forced Constantine to marry Mary the Paphlagonian. Afterwards Constantine wanted to divorce Mary and marry Theodora. The marriage was blessed by a certain priest Joseph. The patri­arch Tarasius did not impose ecclesiastical censures on the emperor but only on Joseph. The monks branded the remarriage as adultery accused the patriarch of laxity and withdrew from his communion. The emperor failed to bring the monks over to his side. In 797 Irene had her son blinded – he lived only a few more years – and assumed the government as sole ruler of the empire. Tarasius was compelled to excommunicate Joseph. Theodora was branded an adulteress and her child was disinherited.

Tarasius died in 806 and Nicephorus, another layman, succ­eeded him. Nicephorus (806-815) belonged to a family that had supplied defenders of the cult images under Constantine V. Irene died in 802 and Nicephorus I (802-811) assumed the power.

The emperor induced the patriarch to call a synod to restore Jos­eph to the communion of the church. The patriarch obeyed the imp­erial order the synod in 806 condemned the principles of the studites.

The emperor Michael (811-813) was influenced by the studities. The patriarch sent his synodical to the Pope Leo III.

The Second Phase of Iconoclasm (815-843)

Emperor Michael I (811-13) was defeated by the Bulgars and he sought refuge behind the walls of the capital. Following this event Leo V (813-820) rose to power. He made a treaty with the Bulgars in 814.

Leo V favoured iconoclasm. He ordered the patriarch to remove the icons from direct veneration by the people; hence no general destruction of images was ordered. The patriarch refused it. He said that the veneration of images was an ancient church tradition and so needed no express order in the Bible. The theological approach that was assumed held that the cult of images was permissible only if it was ordered by the Bible. The patriarch also refused to have the question again discussed by a synod or an episcopal conference. The monks joined the patriarch and swore to maintain their unity and to withstand the iconoclasts even at the cost of their lives. Leo minimized his demands; tie required the patriarch to remove from the immediate contact of the faithful the low-hanging icons in the church. Nicephorus refused to agree even to this. He was deported to Asia Minor where he resigned his office.

On 1 April 815 the emperor appointed as the new patriarch Theodotos of Kassiteras (815-821). In the same month there met at Hagia Sophia a synod, which renewed the decrees of the synod of 754, sharply criticized Nicaea and again forbade the manufacture of images of Christ and the saints. But no special declarations of submission nor even an oath to the synod was demanded; it was enough to maintain communion with the patriarch. It was ordered to remove the low-hanging images. The time the opposition was from the part of the bishops. There was persecution, and a few got martyrdom. More common penalties were flogging and banishment. Patriarch Nicephorus was exiled.

Emperor Leo V was assassinated during the Christmas festi­val of 820. He was succeeded on the throne by Michael II the Amoria (820-829). He was not a friend of the cult of icons, but, nor a persecutor of Iconodules. The exiles could return. The emperor issued athespisma ordering everyone to follow his own conscience. Meanwhile there was a revolt. Thomas a Slave by birth, had himself crowned emperor by the patriarch of Antioch, laid siege to Constantinople. In 823 it was suppressed, but the Muslim power with which Thomas had allied, had again become fully active and did serious damage to the empire.

Michael’s son, Theophilus (829-842) was a more severe persecutor of the iconodules than his father. He appointed John the Grammarian – John VII (837-843) as the patriarch. John was an iconoclast. On the instruction of the patriarch the persecution of the monks was intensified. The emperor was not consistent; his wife Theodora practised the cult of images.

When Theophilus died iconoclasm crumbled. The reasons for this collapse are _complex. i) The political failures of the emperors were thoroughly exploited against iconoclasm. In addition the iconoclasts of the second phase did not follow any strict   line, ii) certain foreign elements were sensed in iconoclasm – Jewish, Paulicians, Amorian etc. iii) the_iconodules were more united and strong and the monks had esteem of the people.

At his death Theophilus was succeeded by his three-year-old son Michael III (842-867). The direction of the regency was assumed by Theodora, a long-time devotee of icons. Patriarch John was induced to abdicate, and his place was taken by Methodius (843-847). Then in March 843 solemn synod was held which re-established the cult of icons. Thus was ended the battle on the cult of images. But iconoclasm became one of the great milestones on the road leading to the separation of the churches – not on the read of dogmatic controversy, but the road of a slow transformation and re-formation of rite and worship, leading to new emphases, to a new contrasting effects, which no longer allowed the maintaining of the ancient East-West koine in civilization and Church. The Orthodox churches today still celebrate the first Sunday in Lent each year as the feast of Orthodoxy1, to commemorate the end of the iconoclastic controversy

The iconoclastic controversy had some grave consequences.

1. Political – it strengened Bysentine Caesaro-papism. The church now became more obedient to the emperors who restored the pure doctrine to its place of honour.

2. It influenced the spiritual development of the Eastern Christianity. From century to century the Bysentine icons remain absolutely identical with one another, stiff, stylised, glowing with gold and jewelled settings. The naive spontaneity and fresh realism of Italian or Flemish paintings are not seen there.

3. It prepared the way for the great division of Christendom, the rupture of Rome and Bysantium, the Greek schism.

Theology and monasticism in the age of Iconoclasm

In the darkest moments of the religious and civil wars there were brilliant spiritual leaders in the Greek Church. Many of them spent their lives in monasteries leading the life of extreme asceticism. They believed: “the more the exterior man suffers the more the inner man blooms”. The book of John Moschus “spiritual meadow” is excellent. lt contained short profound sentences. “Brethren, pray simply that the inner man within me shall not become dropsical also”.

John Climacus -John of the Ladder- was another popular monk. In his book “the ladder of perfection” he explained in thirty steps how one could mount heavenwards, just as the angels climbed to paradise upon Jacob’s ladder, by conquering vice and practising virtue, and how the superior mystical graces could flower in the peace and calm of a soul that had been released from all human passions.

John Damascene was the champion of the cult of images. For him the image became revelation and means of grace. His work “Sources of knowledge” is a compendium of dialectics and of a compact exposition of the content of the orthodox faith.

The Age of Charles the Great (768-814)

At Pepin’s death in 768, his older son Charles obtained the Atlantic Provinces from Gascony to Frisia, the younger Carloman the central and mediterranean territories. Carloman died on 4 December 771 and his widow Gerberga fled with her two sons to the king of Lombards.

While Charles was reuniting the Frankish kingdom, at Rome Hardrian (772-795) was      chosen as pope. When the Lombards besieged Rome in the winter of 772-773, the pope decided to appeal to Charles. Charles desired a peaceful settlement and he offered the Lombard king financial compensation in return for restitution. Desiderius refused the offer. So Charles demanded an unconditional surrender from the Lombards. In September 773 he prepared for a long siege of the Lombard capital. Lombard resistance soon collapsed. At Verona Gerberga and her children fell into Charles’s hands and were sent_to a monastery, Corbie.

At the end of March 774 Charles made a pilgrimage to Rome. The pope received him with a special mark of honour proper to the king. After entering St.Peter’s and praying before the confessio Sancti Petri, the king requested permission to enter the city of Rome. After Franks and Romans had sworn oaths of security to each other before the tomb of Peter, pope and king proceeded to the Lateran, where the pope administered the sacrament of baptism. The king then went to St.Peter’s and took his lodgings not in the imperial palace, but near St.Peter’s. On Easter Sunday, Monday, Tuesday the king participated in the solemn papal liturgy.

On Easter Wednesday certain decisive political agreements were reached. The pope asked the king to implement the promise of Quierzy – a promise of donation. It was read and received Charles’s approval. His chancellor drew up a similar promise of  donation. In this the king promised to St.Peter and to his vicar besides the Dutchy of Rome, the island of Corsica the exarchate of Ravenna, the provinces of Venetia and Istria, and also the dutchies of Spoleto and Benevento. The king’s promise was depo­sited in St.Peter’s in two copies. A third was taken along by Charles when he returned to Pavia.

There was a significant change. Until the expedition of Charles, the popes had dated their charters according to the emperor’s regnal years. Now the imperial regnal years disappeared from papal documents, and the emperor’s name_and image from Roman coins. The years of the pontificate and pope’s name and replaced them. The papal state seceded from the empire, the pope became a sovereign.

 Charles assumed the title: Rex francorurn et Langobardorum atque Patricius Romanorum which expresses the constitutional structure of Charles’ expanded realm. Before his return to Frankland, he fulfilled Desiderius’s promise of restitution, but his own promission donationis. Because of trouble in Italy, a second time Charles proceeded to Italy in December 775 and remained there till July 776. He now instituted a reorganization of the Lombard kingdom along Frankish lines, but still did nothing in regard to carrying out his promissio. Hadrian waited in vain for him to visit Rome.

Hadrian was disappointed and annoyed. There were troubles in the Papal States. He finally decided on a new embassy to Charles who promised to visit him at Easter of 778. The bapti­sm of the king’s son Carloman was to take place on this visit. But the Spanish campaign rendered a new postponement necessary. In may 778 the pope tried a last time to bind the king to his promission by holding up to him the example of Constantine. With this letter the pope enclosed charters in regard to the property of the Roman church.

The so-called donation of Constantine was a goes back to ca 500. According to this Constantine the great handed over to St. Peter and his vicars, whose universal primacy he sanctioned by imperial law, the imperial palace of the Lateran, the insignia of imperial sovereignty, and Romae urbis et omnes Italicae seu occidentalium regionum provincias, loca et civitas. The Roman clergy obtained the dignities and prerogatives of the senate. The emperor transferred his residence to Byzan­tium and abandoned Rome and the West to the Roman church, quoniam, ubi principatus sacerdotum et christianae religionis caput ab iinperatore celeste constitutum est, iustum non est, ut ille imperator terrenus habeat potestatem”. The Constitution emphasized the quasi- imperial position of the pope in the West, first claimed by Hardian after 774.

At Easter, on 5 April 781 Charles visited Pope. Hadrian acted as godfather for king’s son Carloman who was baptized as Pepin; he anointed the boy as king of Italy and his younger brother Louis as king of Aquitaine. The king’s daughter Rotrudis was engaged to the young emperor Constantine VI. The frontiers of papal state were defined and it acquired its definitive shape.

The Carolingian Renaissance

The Carolingian period witnessed a significant revival of intellectual activity involving three areas of England, Frankland and central Germany. This revival in the intellectual order is known as Carolingian renaissance. Einhard saw Charles as a new Augustus, bishop Modoin of Auxerre presented him age as an age of resurrection. The Carolingian renaissance was to mark a distinctive stage in time, to establish a kind of bastion for the future on which the intellect could lean din order to wage its fight against the Barbarism of mind. It was to make Christianity, and the entire intellectual activity of the west inseparable for j centuries to come.

The centre of this renaissance was Aix-la-Chapelle in Rhimeland – a centre of the empire? Charles summoned to this place all thinkers, scholars and theologians, Alcuin of York Peter of Pisa, Paulinus of Aquileia, Paul the deacon Einhard of England. Alcuin (735-804) was made the minister of education, director of Palatine school in Aix. He was an acade­mically minded man and exerted great influence through his theo­logical treatises and pamphlets. Paul the deacon was a historian; Einhard was a layman, an artist and a scholar.

These scholars formed a sort of club, called the Palatine Academy. Each of them bore a pseudonym borrowed from antiquity. Charles was known as avid. There was great progress in literat­ure, art and architecture. Charles commanded that schools be attached to every monastery and bishopric, as the means for spreading education. Those trained at the palace school at Aachen received bishoprics or monasteries in every part of the empire.

Leo III (795-8l6) succeeded Hadrian. He notified Charles and sent him the flag of Rome and the keys to the tomb of St. Peter in recognition of the rights of the Frankish king. Pope was soon in need of Frankish protection. He curtailed the privileges of those appointed by Hadrian. Leo was assaulted in 792. Inthe streets of Rome, Leo suffered serious wounds. He then asked Charles’ help. Charles came to Rome to look into the case. And on Christmas day of 800 while Charles was attending Mass in St. Peter’s pope Leo placed a crown upon his head and the crowd the church hailed Charles as the new Roman Emperor.

The revival of the Roman Empire in the West was very significant. It was the political side of theCarolingian renai­ssance. It also created both a partner and a rival to the papacy in the government of Christendom. It emphasized the jurisdiction of the pope by contrasting his position as spiritual head of Europe with the emperor’s role as temporal head. Both the one Church and the one State were felt to be divinely ordained as the two aspects of Christendom, the heavenly and the temporal cities of God. Each complimented and in turn drew strength from the other.

Pope Leo was convinced of his inability to govern his state without the help of the Frankish king. So he considered, the bestowal of the imperial title on the king a means of guaranteeing a closer protection by theFranks over the papacy, From this time on the Franks intervened willingly in Roman affairs.

There was a friction on the question of using the state imperial title without papal confirmation. Later the princes objected to being indebted to the pope for a temporal office, while the popes refused to relinquish the privilege of anointing the king. Charles contemplated of independent means of acquiring the imperial title and before his death he crowned his son Louis Pius. But Louis agreed to a repetition of the ceremony at the hands of pope Stephen in 816. Louis crowned Lothar, but again Paschal repeated it in 823.

On 28 January 814 Charles died of high fever. His remains were laid to rest in the Marienkirche at Aachen. Loius the Pius succeeded him.

Louis the Pius (814-840)

Louis expected opposition to his succession from his relatives, cousins, sisters and brothers. His sisters were forced to enter the convent. Louis did not have his father’s versatility; his interest lay especially in theology sand church reform. He summoned Benedict of Aniane to the imperial court of whom he built the monastery of Konnelimunster near Aachen in 817. Benedict instituted the first reform of Benedictine monasticism by attempting to restore the primitive observance. He proposed to unify all observances by adoption of a common code of supplementary regulations. His programme was accepted at a meeting of abbots at Aachen in 817 and promulgated by the emperor as imperial law, thus establishing the modified Benedictine rule as obligatory for all monasteries within the empire.

In Rome pope Leo III died on 12 June 816. Stephen IV was elected as the new pope. This was the first election to take place after the establishment of the Western Empire. In the Byzentine period papal elections had been ratified by the emperor or the exarch before the consecration, though since the election of Zachary there had been no imperial approval. Stephen IV merely sent Louis a notification. He had the Romans swear loyalty to the emperor and requested a meeting with him.

Emperor and the pope met at Reims at the beginning of October 816. During the mass pope anointed and crowned the emperor and the empress. In return the king confirmed in writing the freedom of papal elections and autonomy of the papal state in regard to administration and justice, in the privilege of 24 January 817. The notification of the papal election was to be made only after the consecration, and the emperor was to act as judge in the papal state only in the event of a denial of justice. Stephen died on the same day on which this document (Ludovicianum) was issued. Paschal I succeeded him. (817-824).


On Holy Thursday 817 the emperor had an accident, which impressed on him the transitory nature of earthly things. He decided to divide the empire. The oldest son Lothar was elected and crowned co-emperor as a result of divine inspiration. The younger brothers, Pepin of Acquitaine and Loius, who obtained Bavaria, were made kings, but both they and their areas of rule remained subject to their father and his successors in the imperial dignity. Further divisions of inheritance were forbidden even to the subkings. If there existed several heirs, election by the people should decide the succession.

The ordinatio imperii (imperial order) of 817 expressed that the emperor should stand above the nation. In it empire and the church were understood as unity. Hence the unity of empire was regarded as willed by God. On the unity of the empire rested the eternal peace of entire Christian people, the office of emperor and that of king were understood on the analogy of the office of the bishop.

An imperial assembly met at Aachen after Christmas 818 to define the churches ties to the emperor and church’s obligations to the empire. The preface of the capitulary of 818-19 distinguished the mortal person of the ruler from the imperial office, which stands on a lonely elevation. The emperor is auditor Dei; his sphere of duty embraces ecclesiastica negotia and status rei publicae. The Christian people are divided into three classes canons, monks and laity.

Since the sixth century the ruler filled the bishoprics. Most sees formally possessed the right to elect their bishops, whereas the abbots of the monasteries were in most cases determined by the founder of the proprietary church. In 818-19 Louis granted the right of election to all sees and to imperial mo­nasteries of the ordo regularis, but he retained the right to confirm and invest, which involved a review of the election.

Decline of Carolingian empire

Loius Pius innate weakness and the subdivisions of the empire among his sons occasioned rebellions and civil war, which continued throughout the ninth century. There were prominent bishops in the Frankish kingdom and they exempli­fied the role of the Frankish episcopate, eg. Abp Hincmar of Reims (845-882). Bishops tried to keep alive the traditions of unity and strong government as the best means of preserving social order.

Louis helped the church in the evangelization of both Slavs and Scandinavians. Ambitious persons persuaded him to divide the empire among his three sons. It led to never-ending fights between the sons and Louis and among the sons themselves.

After Louis death Lothar, the eldest son, retained the title emperor and was to rule the land from Frisia down to Northern Italy inclusive. Charles the Bald was given the territory of the west – roughly the modern France, predominantly French-speaking Louis the German, was given the East of Lothars kingdom, corresponding the modern Germany. The East and West kingdoms later developed into the kingdoms of France and Germany, because of their unity of race and strength. But the kingdom of Lothair was composed of several races and languag­es and was weakened when Lothair further divided it among his three sons.

The further fighting and divisions of the kingdoms in Europe in the ninth century finally resulted in the following kingdoms:

1. Kingdom of East Franks – modern Germany, Holland

2. Kingdom of West Franks – modern France, Belgium

3. Kingdom of Burgandy – south-eastern corner of France and part of Switzerland

4. Kingdom of Northern Italy -Lombardy

5. Papal State.

As the empire declined the church was liberated from the theocratic domination instituted by Chrlemagne. The political order enhanced the theoretical position of the church. By mid-ninth century bishops began to assert their superiority over the kings. In 868 Archbishop Hincmar of Reims wrote to Charles the Bald that the royal power derived solely from the king’s coronation and anointing toy the bishop. But the destruction of the empire hurt the church in many ways. The spoliation of ecclesiastical properties, usurpation of prerogatives lay control of monasteries, and acts of violence against the clergy continued apace. The close of the Carolingian renaissance found the church in a distressed condition morally and materially.

Canon Law: The False Decretals

Fasle Decretals is a spurious collection of canon laws composed in northwestern France between 847 and 852. Before the 12th century there was no authorized collections of universal ca­nons in the church. There existed numerous semi-official or private codes derived from scripture, tradition, papal pronounce­ments and decrees of councils.

When Charlemagne wrote to pope Adrian for an authoritative copy of the laws of the church he received in reply the Dionysian code which a council at Aachen in 802 adopted for the empire, thus making it the most widely used collection in the West. Dionysius was a Scythian monk who in the sixth century compiled the general collection for the Roman church: 213 greek canonf 50 apostolic canons, 138 canons of the African collection. We also collected 38 decretals of the Ro­man ponfiffs from Siricius(384-399) to Anastasius II (496-498).

The author of the fasle or Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals was anonymous. We wanted to protect the church from the wholesale spoliation of its prerogatives by the Carolingian nobility. To this end he forged laws strengthening the authority of bishops and as the final source of authority, the papacy. Thus he decla­red that a layman could not accuse a cleric in court, local councils required papal licence for convocation, and bishops might appeal to the pope against deposition by a metropolitan.

False decretals were a clever mingling of genuine with forged materials. Basically they were the Hispana – the Spanish collections – to which added letters assigned to very early popes on the basis of mere mention of such decretals in the Liber Pontificalis, an ancient and sketchy collections of the lives of Poes. In this way an aura of antiquity and veracity

pervaded the False Decretals. Forgeries of this type were common in the middle ages, false decretals were incorporated into the code of canon law arid played a part in the later cent­ralisation of papal administration.

The papacy and the West from 840 to 875

The history of the church reached a climax in the ninth century in the pontificates of Nicholas I (858-867), Hadrian II (867-872) and John VIII (872-882). There were changes in the relations between the church and the state. It was conditioned by the partition of the empire.

Pope Sergius II was consecrated before the imperial confir­mation. So Lothair sent his son Louis to Rome to insist on his prerogatives. Louis II intervened in papal elections even more vigourously than Lothar I. The Election of Nicholas I in 858 took place in the emperor’s presence. Hadrian was not the emper­or’s candidate in 867, but he was chosen following a reconcilia­tion with Louis II. We have precise information as to the electi­on of John VIII.

Pope Nicholas the Great was the last of the three popes to be given the titte “the Great”. He possessed great talent and force of character. His influence in ecclesiastical and political affairs was great. He had a great role to play in the Photian schism. Emperor Lothar wanted to divorce his wife and to marry his mistress. A synod of the German bishops in 860 annulled the marriage. Nicholas rejected the decision of the synod and deposed the archbishops of Cologne and Trier and threatened Lothar with excommunication. The king yielded and took back his former wife.

The church under lay domination


From 850 to 1050 the chief feature of the history of the church is the lay domination and interests. This situation extended from garish to papacy itself. The reasons are the barbarian invasion and certain defects in the administrative machinery of the church. The two institutions embodying lay control are feudalism and the proprietary church system. As a result there was a general religious decline.

Barbarian invasion

In the ninth and tenth centuries Europe was attacked from three sides: south, east and north. In the south the Muslims attacked now and then and gained a stronghold in Sicily and Calabria. In the east the Magyars or Hungarians invaded most o the towns.  In the north most of the towns were looted and destroyed.  They found that the monasteries and churches were places of precious things and jewels and old and silver ornaments. They not only destroyed the church property but also killed or enslaved monks and clergy which disrupted the normal ecclesiastical life. So the barbarian invasion caused the decline of religion and cleri­cal discipline and education. Internal confusion.

There was a confusion due to the decline and division of the Carolingian empire. The empire was divided into numerous smaller units and each of them was ruled jealously by counts, dukes, or weak kings. The abbots and the bishops depended upon these aristocratic feudal princes, who pretended to be the defenders of the church.

According to the canon law an ecclesiastical institution requires an endowment in land for its support. So each parish, bishopric, or monastery possessed extensive areas of lands. Under the feudal regime the possessor of land also enjoyed political jurisdiction over it; not only was he the owner or tenant, he was also in large measure the ruler. This situation had two results ; i) the secular  lords striving to obtain or increase their political power eyed the lands of the church as an available means to that end; ii) the bishops and the abbots who administered church property themselves became feudal lords and hence secular rulers in their own right.

Means of Lay Domination

During the time of Charlemagne all the dioceses and most of the monasteries were at king’s disposal under the pretext of protection. When the empire was divided into smaller units each ruler claimed to inherit the Carolingian rights, out its success depended on the circumstances. In the German part of the empire the king kept control of all the dioceses and large abbeys, while in France only about one third of the bishoprics remained under royal protection. In other parts of the kingdom it varied.

There was lay control over the ecclesiastical offices. It means that the office was treated like any other feudal feudal lord with rights and obligations dictated by custom. Sometimes a nobleman might confiscates church property outright and turn it entirely to his own. As long as the bishop and abbot fulfilled his feudal obligations to his lord, the lay lord would not disturb his vassal. And the ecclesiastical fief might be disposed of like any other. In 990 Count William of Toulouse gave the diocese of Beziers to his daughter as her dowry and bequeathed the diocese of Agde to his wife.

The most important right of the lay control was the right to influence the choice of bishops. Canon law specified that ele­ctions of bishops be by priests and people. But in the Middle Ages this was often ignored and there were irregularities. Powerful laymen influenced the elections. If the bishop was a vassal of a lay lord, the latter’s voice could not be ignored. He could nominate or veto the clergy’s choice. If the bishop was an independent sovereign without a strong overlord, elections resembled a contest between the nobility of the area. The law and custom sanctioned secular intervention and since the papacy was itself in the same position at this time, no protest could be expected. In 921 pope John X scolded archbishop of Cologne for ignoring the orders of the king in an election of a bishop. “We have not ceased to wonder that you have dared to act against all reason and without the king’s order; you should not have done that. Remember that no bishop can be consecrated in any dio­cese without the king’s consent”.

Feudalism and the church

Feudalism is a system of government that arose in the ninth and tenth centuries. It trsformed everyone who possessed land into a soverign his own land, owing certain obligations to those higher than himself in the feudal scale, yet enjoying prerogatives which could not be taken from him. Since the Edict of Milan the ecclesiastical officials especially the bishops had been enjoying some degree of public authority. Feudalism, however, more precisely defined and imparted a legal title to the present position than had often been the case earlier.

The rights of the feudal bishops or abbot were the following: protection by his lord, greater or lesser judicial powers incl­uding fines accruing therefrom, tolls and miscellaneous revenues sometimes the right to coin money and very often secular jurisdiction over city in which the cathedral was located.  The temporal overlord enjoyed the right to bestow the ecclesiastical fief on virtually whomever he wished, to invest that individual with in office, and to receive from him an oath of fidelity. There was no difference between the temporal services of an ecclesiastical and a lay vassal. These included the obligation to attend the lord’s court, military service, hospitality and entertainment, aids and relief.

Military service was considered incompatible with the ecclesiastical office. But in the feudal system it could not be avoided. Every feudal lord had his own/army to defend his territory. Some of the bishops had large number of armies. In 1184 the archbishop of Cologne had 1700 knights. These knights were the bishop’s vassals and they occupied parts of his land as fiefs in payment for their services. A certain number of them accompanied the bishops when they went to fulfill their personal obligation of armed assistance to their princes.  The military obligations of the monasteries was fulfilled by a layman who was employed to handle the secular affairs. Bishops very often took part in compaigns despite church’s prohibition. Because many of the bishops were nobleman who were born and bred to military life and it is not surprising that they could not free themselves from the influence of heredity.

The reason for the prominence of bishops in secular affairs of the middle ages is that the bishops were the most loyal vassals of the lord, because they were most amenable to control. And they were nominated by the kings. They were either personal­ly known to him or belonged to his family and very probably they had served him many years as royal chaplain, chancellor or courtier of some kind. Sometimes the kings granted huge grants of land on the bishops in feudal tenure in order to build up the diocese as counterbalance to the power of the great lay nobles who defied the kings with impunity. The German emperors ruled their empire with the aid of the bishops and without their help they would have been reduced to impotence.

The medieval bishops had dual functions of serving the church and the state. Sometimes they were more interested in serving the state. There were also exceptions: St. Bernward of Hiidesheim, Ulrich of Augsburg, Norbert of Cologne etc.

The Proprietary Church

Lay domination reached the level of the parish through the propriatary or private church  system. The parish church with all its property and revenues was conceived as a piece of property that had to be owned by a specific person acting in the name of the patron saint to whom the church was dedicated. That person was the founder or donor of the church. Since most parish churches were built and endowed by laymen they were regarded as the laymen’s property. Thus several dioceses most of the parishes were lay property.

Under the proprietary system the proprietor appointed the priest, whom a bishop ordained, but often without serious investigation of his qualifications. Legally the priest was not entirely at proprietor’s mercy, but in practice he approached that condition. The priest might pay the proprietor for his appointment and the lord had almost complete control over tithes stole fees, burial fees and all other parish income. The right to collect revenues could be assigned to others, sold, exchanged or alienated in any way whatsoever, provided the church building and altar were not put to secular use. The proprietor was res­ponsible for everything. Under these circumstances the spiritual aspects of parish life were not likely to receive proper attention. Monasteries and some times dioceses were exploited as part of proprietary system and fared no better than parishes.

The papacy

The Carolingian collapse dragged the papacy from its heights. The Frankish kings were no more able to protect the church. The papacy was disgraced by scandalous events. Holy see was occupied by unworthy persons. Of the 44 popes between 867 and 1048, nine met violent deaths; two by poison, four by murder or execution in prison, one by strangulation, and two under suspicious circumstances. It was a shame and disgrace for the Roman pontiffs. The one significant relieving feature is that however wicked the popes were personally and however scandalous their conduct, none of them attempted to promulgate false doctrine or teach heresy.

Leo IV was a saintly pope. Benedict III was his successor. The French king Lothair ordered the arrest of Benedict and nominated Anastaaius as pope. The Romans opposed it. So the attempt failed. On 17 March 858 Benedict died.

There is an accusation that a woman pope governed the church between the pontificates of Leo IV and Benedict III. Her name was Joan. There is no historical evidence for this.

Nicholas I (858-867) solved three great problems: 1. Divorce of Lothair, 2. Photian schism, 3. Procedure against Hincmar, archbishop of Reims.

Adrian II was very old. He was a married person, his wife and daughter ware living. A certain Eleutherius had stolen them and killed then afterwards, Eleutherius was the brother of Anastasius.

John VIII governed the church for ten years. It was period of confusion and riots. There were conflicts between the sons of Charles and invasion of Muslims. The Muslims invaded Rome and John prepared a strong array to protect Rome. John was imprisoned by the king of Caveria to get the title of emperor for him. He wanted to reform the church. There was opposition and its leader was Formosus who was expelled from Rome. The pope was given poison, but outlived. On 12 December he was killed. During the next pontificate, Formosus, bishop of Porto came back to Rome.

In 891 Formosus became pope. He was very prominent in papal politics but not wise. Pope unwillingly crowned Lambert of Spoleto king and emperor, but at the same time he appealed to king Arnulf in Germany. Arnulf came and pope bestowed him the imperial title without bothering about the fact that he had already given to it to Lambert. Illness forced Arnulf to retreat before dealing with Lambert. By the time Lambert was in possession of Rome, the pope had died.

Stephen VII had Formosus nine months old corpse exhumed, propped on a throne clad in papal vestments and tried by a council as a false pope. The Judges found Formosus guilty, annulled his acts and ordinations, removed his name from the list of the popes, and cast his body into a public grave from which the mob tossed it into the Tiber. Rome then divided into violent Formosian and anti-Formosian factions and many priests and even bishops were in a quandary because of the annulment of Formosus’ ordinnations. Stephen was strangled after having chained him.

The next two pontificates were short.  Pope Theodore reinterred the corpse of Formosus solemnly, he declared the acts of Formosus valid and licit. After his death the tension between the Formosian and anti-Formosian groups continued. The Formosian group elected John IX as pope, the other Sergius. The king Lambert supported John. John was a peacemaker .He finally rehabilitated Formosus’ reputation. To prevent new disputes John decreed anew that the emperor’s approbation must be received before a pope-elect could be consecrated.

The beginning of the tenth century was period of great confusion in the church. After the death of Benedict IV, Leo V became pope. Leo was imprisoned by an antipope, Christopher, whom pope Sergius III (904-911) sent to join Leo in prison; then out of pity he executed them both. Out of the melee arose the wealthy papal official and senator Theophylact, who with his wife and two daughters Theodora and Marozia dominated Rome for two generations. Marozia captivated Sergius by her charms and cemented her family power. Sergius was antt-formosian and irritated old wounds. He convoked a synod and declared the activities of Formosus, John IX and Benedict IV invalid.

Under the influence of Theophylact dynasty Anastasius III was elected pope. John X also owed his election to the house of Theophylact. He was a vigourous man of action who personally led the army to victory against the Saracens and made his influence felt in both Germany and France. Marozia hated John because of his independency. Her followers killed pope’s brother Peter, the Roman governor. Then they imprisoned the pope in dark room where he died in December 928.

John XI (931-935), son of Marozia and pope Sergius III gave his mother free rein in affairs of the Roman government, but before long the pope’s brother Alberic seized the control. Alberic opposed the new marriage of his mother with Hugo of Alberic gave Rome effective government for twenty years, but only at the price of personally designated five successive popes. The fifth one whom Alberic designated on his own deathbed was his son John XII (955-964), with whom the papacy sank to the lowest level in its history. Not yet twenty years old, John gave himself up entirely to the pursuit of pleasure in its manifold forms. But a new chapter in papal history was drawing, for a powerful prince was emerged north of the AIps and he was watching Italy with interest.

The German popes

Otto I of Germany was the most powerful European king since Charlemagne. When John was threatened by enemies he turned to Otto for deliverance. By February 962 Otto came to Rome and John XII crowned him Roman emperor. Rome now had a new lord protector who issued, a new constitution in which it was promised that the papal state should be preserved intact and no pope would be consecrated without the emperor’s consent. And again the perplexing problem arose of the extent of the German overlordship. John had desired a protector only, not a suzerain. But Otto envisaged a permanent occupation of Italy for he took the Lombard title and installed German bishops in the north Italian sees to rule their dioceses in the interests of the emperor. John began an intrigue against Otto. Since John had fled, Otto placed John on trial in his absence. Because of the scandalous life of John the assembled bishops proceeded to depose him and to place another. But as soon as Otto departed, John returned and expelled the antipope.

The Byzentine Church


In 858 Patriarch Ignatius was forced to resign, because he criticized Bardas, the emperor’s minister on the grounds of his love affair with his own daughter-in-law. Photius, a layman was appointed as patriarch. Tonsured on 20 December 858, he re­ceived on the four succeeding days the seven degrees of Holy Orders, which enabled him to be consecrated patriarch on Christ­mas day by an archbishop, incidentally, who had been suspended arid excommunicated by Ignatius. There was opposition from the Ignatian party.

After his nomination and consecration Photius send the synodical letter – a letter to other four patriarchal sees ex­plaining how he had been chosen and consecrated and made a profession of faith. Pope Nicholas I was not satisfied with Photius’ letter. He sent two legates to investigate the circumstances of the patriarchal election. The legates held a council, which not only recognized Photius but also renewed the condemnation of Ignatius. Nicholas cannot recognize this and he deposed the legates for having exceeded their powers. Soon afterwards there arrived in Rome a delegation of Ignatius supporters, through not sent by him. A council met there in 863; Byzantium was notified of its decisions and other three patriarchs were informed that the pope refused to recognize Photius. This situation created a tension in the church.

In 867 November pope Nicholas died; Photius was dismissed. Hadrian succeeded Nicholas. Basil I, the Macedonian, had obtained the throne by the two fold assassination of Bardas and Michael III. He liqudated Photius and reinstated Ignatius. He asked the pope for a general council to settle the matter. Pope Adrian II and a Roman synod condemned Photius and delegated representatives for the IV Ecumenical council of Constantinople. Pope wanted that the Greeks subscribe the Roman primacy. The council met in 868-869 and it was poorly attended. It vindicated the Roman position by accepting the formula of Hormisdas and Photius’ con­demnation.

By the time of patriarch Ignatius’ death Basil had changed his policies and now offered the patriarchal throne to Photius in 887. Photius convoked a council at Constantinople in 879 which recognized him patriarch arid annulled the anti-Photian acts of the council in 868-69. Even Roman legates accepted the acts of the new council despite its defiance of Rome. Pope John VIII tried to defend his position but he was murdered.

Leo VI, successor of Basil, dismissed Photius in 886. But Photius books against the Roman primacy became popular. And it opened the way to schism and finally to separation from Home. The primacy of Home was called in question.


Michael Cerularius and Greek schism

Photius’ successors in the patriarchate of Constantinople might from time to time show the pope some mark of respect, but their spirit of detachment from the holy see continued to in­crease; thus the practice of sending to Rome the synodical letter after their appointment was very seldom observed. But there no longer appeared to be doctrinal differences between, the two churches. The question of filioque did not disturb the minds of the people. On the other hand there were innumerable difficulties in the field of rites, which in the East were rigid and uniform for the whole church, whereas in the West they were more varied.

Michael Cerularius occupied the patriarchal throne at Cons­tantinople from 1043 to 1059. As a youth he had been occupied in politics that had taken part in a serious conspiracy and had even dreamed of seizing the throne. Afterwards he was converted and became a monk. He was very ambitious and resolved to make himself undisputed pope of the East. In 1053 he suddenly attacked the Latins for the horrible infirmities of using unleavened bread in the Eucharist, for insisting on clerical celibacy and for fasting on Saturdays, for omitting Alleluia in etc. Cerularius also closed all Latin churches in Constantinople, including the chapel of the papal legate.

Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) sent his ambassadors to Constanti­nople Cardinals Humbert and Frederick (future Clement IX) and archbishop Peter of Amalfi, to investigate. Cerularius abused the legates and excommunicated the pope. On 16 July 1054, Cardinal Humbert and his suite attended the solemn service in St. Sophia. After fulminating violent denunciations of the patriarch, who was described as a rebel against the pope’s authority, they laid upon the high altar a document announcing his excommunication. Then, leaving the basilica, they shook the dust from their shoes, crying,: “May God behold and judge us”. They thought that this would solve the problem.

Canonically the act of the legality was meaningless for two reasons: 1) the legates had not been authorized to take such a step, and 2) since Leo IX died on 19 April, the powers of his representatives had lapsed de facto, though the event was as yet unknown. Their gesture was decisive, but in a sense very different from that hoped for by the legates.

Michael Cerularius now appeared as defender of the Eastern church against the mockery of the West. The people were solidly fitbehind him. The emperor Constantine who was anxious to maintain His alliance with Rome against the Normans, attempted to interfere without any success. Attempt at mediation by the holy patriarch Peter of Antioch was also failed. Cerularius completed his work; the bull of excommunication was publicly burned, and on 24 July 1054 the synod of the Eastern Church – a dozen metro­politans and archbishops – met in St. Sophia and promulgated a synodal edict, which declared the matins guilty of seeking to prevent the true faith. Some weeks later Cerularius supplemented this edict with an indictment in which under the pretext of establishing the rights of his see as against Rome, he put himself forward as sole representative of the true religion of Christ.

Cerularius became the supreme authority at Constantinople. He also took part in a conspiracy which overthrew Michael VI in 1057 and set up in his place Isaac Comnenus. Isaac was not content to stand like a boy at the side of the terrible patri­arch. At Christmas 1058 he took advantage of a retreat, which Cerularius was making in a convent far from Constantinople to have him arrested, and was about to bring him to trial when the patriarch died. Public opinion was so inflamed that the emperor himself had to bring back the martyrs body with great pomp and allow the church to confer on him a regular apotheosis. Later under Isaac’s successor, Constantine X, who had married a niece of Cerularius, the patriarch was canonized and an annual feast instituted in his honour.

Greek schism was a great misfortune. It has never been solved. Both sides were to be blamed for this, on one side there was, there was pride and perfidy, on the other clumsy mishandling and intra sigence. Rome and Constantinople claimed to have been victorious. The Latins boasted of having broken the patriarch’s pride, while faith from impious errors of the West. There were people who were deeply pained by this wound inflicted on the church. Peter of Antioch exclaimed: “If the queens of the earth are at enmity, all the world will be in tears”. In 1064 a monk, George the Hagiorite said: “There is no difference between Greeks and Christendom indeed took a long time to recognize the fact of schism, pilgrims to the Holy Land continued to pass through Byzantine territory; the popes were still in official relations with the emperor and some of the emperors, e,g. Michael VII even made gifts to Western monasteries, above all to Monte Casino. Nevertheless the cleavage was incapable of repair and steadily widened; it was rendered final by the loss of Byzentine possessions in Italy to the Normans and, later, by the in­cidents of the crusades.

Constitution of the church, worship, pastoral care and piety:

FROM 700 to 1050

The pope.

During the dark age the papal prestige and power increased. In the Last Theodore of Studites, defender of orthodoxy extolled the primacy of Rome. In the West papal supremacy was unquestioned. The pope was considered as the spiritual ruler of the empire, he was also the head of the papal state. Because of this preemine­nce of this position both in the spiritual and secular sphere the Italian families and the emperors interfered in the election of the popes. It was solved to a certain extent during the time pope Nicholas II in 1059 that the pope was to be elected by the cardinals alone.

The Cardinals:

Cardinals are the princes of the church. They help the pope in the administration of the church. It is the college of cardi­nals that governs the church during the vacancy of the pontifi­cate. It is its duty to make arrangements for the new conclave but it has no power to change any laws of the church. The college of the cardinals has a head – Camerlengo – His office is to super vise the property and temporal rights of the Holy See especially sede vacante. He verifies the death of the pope and makes prepa­ration for the conclave, which he directs. It is appointed by the pope or if the office is vacant at the pope’s death, by the sacred college.

The normal rule is that the cardinals stay in Rome. But those cardinals who are in charge of the dioceses are exempted from this rule, The prefects of various Roman congregations are cardinals. One is made cardinal by the pope. There is no need of consent or vote of the College of Cardinals to make one cardinal. It is totally the right of the pope.

There are three ranks of cardinals

  1. The bishops cardinals:

 In the early church the bishops of seven dioceses – neigh­bouring – helped, the pope in the administration of the church. These bishops were later called bishop cardinals. The seven dio­ceses were: Ostia, Porto, Santa Rufina, Albany, Sabina, Tusculum, Palestrina. Later Porto and Santa Rufina were joined and added Vellerti to this group. The bishop of Ostia was the dean of the college of Cardinals.

2. Priest Cardinals

The priests in charge of the important churches in Rome were known as priests cardinal by 8th c. They participated in the ceremonies of the four major basilicas according to their turn. The term was used in Rome for 25 parish priests of the leading parishes.

3. Deacons Cardinals

Rome was divided into seven districts and deacons were appointed to look after the poor. These deacons used to minister pope when he celebrated mass in the Lateran Baslica. These deacons were called deacon cardinals.

The origin of the cardinals goes back to the fifth century. Gradually they changed in number and grew in importance in the 8th century; cardinal priests and deacons were declared the only candidates for the papacy, the bishops being regarded as untransferable.  In the 9th century the cardinals were looked upon as the pope’s counsel and in the 11th c. they were given the privilege of electing the pope. It was pope Nicholas II who declared that cardinals be the electors of pope on 13 April 1059. Pope Alexander III decided that two third majority of the votes was necessary for a valid election in 1179. Gregory X in 1274 instituted conclave system of strict seclusion to secure a more rapid papal election arid to hinder the influence of emperors and worldly powers. Further modifications were added by Pius IV in 1562. It was Sixtus V who fixed the number of the cardinals in 1586. Accordingly there were 6 bishops cardinals, 50 priests and 14 deacon cardinals. Later Leo XIII (1882), Pius X (1904), 3 Pius XII (1945), John XXIII (1962) Paul VI (   ) and John Paul II (     ) modified the election procedure and number of cardinal.

Cathedral chapters

The clergy who assisted the bishop for administrative and liturgical purposes and monastic communities established in the Episcopal see were called the cathedral chapters.  They occupied the first rank and had great influence in the government of the diocese. Cathedral chapters were at first under the archdeacon, then the provest (praepositus) and for disciplinary matters, the dean who was later virtually to assume the entire direction. The cantor took care of the liturgy, and sacred rites; the scholastics directed the cathedral school and sometimes the school of the entire diocese. Custos was for treasure.

The large dioceses were divided into smaller districts. Thus there developed in the 7th and 8th centuries the system of territorially defined baptismal churches, whose direction was entrusted by the bishop to a rural archpriest. Many smaller churches were combined to the baptismal churches and they formed the deaneries.

The medieval reformation

Despite the barbarian devastation and secular domination in the church there significant spiritual revivals. Both papacy and monasteries took part in it.

The monastic renaissance: Most medieval reform movements were nature or origin. Various monastic experiments of the tenth and eleventh centuries paved the way for the Gregorian reform.

Cluniac reform was the foremost among the monastic reforms. In 910 Duke William of Aquitaine, in cooperation with Abbot Berno of Baume, founded Cluny near Macon in Burgandy. Cluny owed its greatness to a succession of saintly and long-lived abbots: Berno (910-926), Odo (926-942), Maieul (954-994), Odilo ( 994-1049) and Hugh the Great (1049-1109). Cluny enjoyed freedom from lay control and their house was directly under papal jurisdiction.

Life at Cluny rested on the Benedictine rule as modified by St. Benedict of Aniane. Thus Cluny discarded manual labour and made recitation of the divine office almost the sole occupation of the monks. Study and copying of the manuscripts remained; but the simplicity of traditional Benedictinism disappeared; yet it became a mecca for those in search of spiritual perfection. Eventually it be came worldly and after the middle of 12th c. it 4 declined.

The monastic reforms influenced the secular clergy and use of their position to improve the state of religion in their respective places. Alfred the Great of England (871-899) tried to restore education among his clergy. Emperor Henry II of Germany (1002-1024) has been canonized for these eff­orts to revive the spiritual life among the corrupt German clergy.

The Cluniac reform stressed the moral regeneration. It attacked simony and clerical marriage. Simony is a sin of tra­fficking in sacred objects or offices. It arose from the possi­bility for laymen to profit from the disposition of the ecclesiastical positions within their jurisdiction. The evil was compounded when simonist bishops tried to recover the price of their office by extracting money from other clergy. Thus the archbishop of Milan, who owed his position to the emperor, established a fixed scale of twelve, eighteen and twenty-four denarii as the price of ordination of sub deacons, deacons and priests respectively. Humbert of Koyenmoutier’s Three Books against Simonists (1058) attacked simony. He denied the validity of ordinations performed by simonist bishops.

There was lax observance of the law of clerical celibacy. The synod of Elvira (306) prescribed celibacy for priests or continence if they had been married before ordination. This law applied to those in major orders. But often the law was neglected and there were married or concubinary priests and bishops. Some­times the priestly office was handed on from father to son like any hereditary benefice. Abbots, bishops and popes laboured to restore celibacy, but there were practical difficulties involved such as the fate of priests’ wives and children. One bishop complained that if he degraded all married priests he would have no one left to say mass in his whole diocese.

Political problems of reform The political act of lay investiture involved the bestowal by a laymen of the insignia of office on a clergyman. This practice symbolized secular domi­nation. As a result of this the bishop held a temporal as well as spiritual office and the two had become confused. “Deceive this church” was the formula of investiture as the king granted the bishop-elect his crosier and ring. The whole ceremony left the impression that the layman was bestowing a spiritual power upon his vassal.

Lay investiture was a symbol manifestation of royal rights over the church. It did not become a major issue until after 1065. The reformers disagreed among themselves on the question whether or not to abolish royal rights at all. Since the edict of Milan and therein the theocratic Carolingian empire it had been accepted prerogatives of the kings to exert extensive influence and control over the church. Kings recognized their obligation to protect the church and churchmen acknow­ledged the need of royal protection. To the medieval mind the monarch was both king and priest and therefore his control was not secular domination at all.

Humbert’s book against Simonists was the first attack on the principle of active lay participation in ecclesiastical administration and this marked a revolution in reforming circles.


The reformed papacy:  Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) started reform in the papal level. Around him he collected the famous reformers: Humbert of Moyenmoutier. Frederick of Lorraine, the monk. Hildebrand etc. He wanted to put Rome at the head of the reform. Everywhere councils assembled to reform abuses, outlaw simony, enforce celibacy and depose unworthy. Pope Victor (1055-1057) continued the reform.

Pope Nicholas II (1059-1061). In 1039 a Lateran synod declared that only the cardinals had a direct voice in papal elections the Roman elegy and people being permitted to express their   Hi consent but nothing more. This was to prevent the lay domination in the papal election. To the emperor was reserved a vague right of confirmation. The same synod formulated the first absolute prohibition of lay investiture. Nicholas also secured military aid to protect the papacy from its enemies.

The first test of the election law came in 1061. Alexander II was elected pope. A group of German and Lombard bishops declared Honorius II as pope. After two years Alexander secured general recognition.

Pope ST. Gregory VII. (1073-1085). As the monk Hildebrand he had been a great power behind the scenes at the curia for 15 years prior to his election. His career had begun in 1043 as a secretary to Gregory VI. St. Leo IX had brought him back to Rome made him cardinal, and sent him as a legate to direct the reform in France. He had enjoyed the full confidence of Victor II and still more of Stephen X whose dying instructions were that not until Hildebrand returned was the new pope to be elected. He had thus been instrumental in the election of Nicholas II and two years later, it was his influence that brought about the election of Alexander II too.

St Gregory was a monk. He was not cluniac, but was in closest relation with Cluny and its abbots. He believed that papacy alone could save the church. He wanted to re-educate the church with regard to such matters as the primatial actions of the Holy See, the freedom of episcopal elections, simony and clerical celibacy. Even before his elevation he set himself to organize the necessary researches. The result was the gradual appearance of canon law books of a new type out of which there came forth the scientific canon law of the church.

Gregory was a man of peace. He wanted to work with the emperor’s cooperation, but he was against the lay domination in the church. He forbade the lay investiture and excommunication was threatened against those who disobeyed. He excommunicated Henry IV, deposed him and absolved all his vassals from their oaths of allegiance. Though the emperor was in a strong position the papal sentence gave the rebels a new life. His own bishops deserted him and a national assembly (October 1076) ratified the act of deposition.

Henry was lost, submission to the pope was the only means open to him. Pope was en route for the great German council that was to choose and install his successor. Pope and emperor met at the castle of Canossa, on 28 January 1077. Henry is said to have stood in the snow for three days begging forgiveness as a humble penitent. As a priest Gregory had no choice but to absolve the imperial penitent.

The civil war continued in Germany, the vassals elected a new emperor and the pope declared himself neutral. When Henry returned to his old practice of nominating to sees and abbeys, the pope renewed the excommunication and acknowledged his competitor  Rudolf of Swabia. This time the German bishops stood by Henry and denounced all manner of calumnies against the pope and declared him deposed and elected in his place in June 1080 the archbishop of Ravenna as Clement III. Rudolf was slain in battle and Henry marched to Italy to carry out the deposition of Gregory and installation of Clement.

One town after another surrendered to Henry. In 1082 he laid siege to Rome. The next year he took St. Peter’s while Gregory sought refuge in the fortress of St. Angelo. In March 1084 the city surrendered and Clement was solemnly installed in the Lateran. The Normans rescued Gregory. They sacked the city and when they retired they took the pope with them. On 28 March 1085 he died at Salerno.


The Gregorian Reform

The synods of 1074, 1075 decreed permanent deposition for simonists. The synod of 1078 enforced the law of celibacy. Another synod of 1078 declared all ordinations performed by the excommunicated to be legally invalid.

It was forbidden to clerics under penalty of excommunication and annulment of completed action, to accept from a layman the investiture of bishoprics, abbeys and churches (1078).

The synod of 1080 enjoined the control of elections by the bishop and the confirmation by the metropolitan or the pope. In the event of an uncanonical election the electors’ right to fill the office was to pass to the metropolitan or to the pope. The synod of 1078 attacked the right of the proprietors of churches. The synod of Gerona stated that lay persons must not really possess churches; wherever this could not be avoided at least the taking of the offerings was forbidden.

Gregory was convinced that no Christian could be saved who was not bound to Peter’s vicar in unity, harmony and obedience. He used all the rights assembled in the “Dictatus papae” to the extent that he regarded as necessary.

Dictatus papae – Gregory intented the compilation of laws which had been done under the leadership of Anselm of Lucca. Before this the pope had himself collected canonical material dealing with the Roman primacy, mostly taken from pseudo-Isidore arranged in sections, and for each section composed a concise sentence, suggesting the chapter headings of canonical colle­ction. Thus originated the famed Dictatus papae, which was put in­to Gregory’s registrum of letters. There in 27 sentences were summarized the most important primatial rights, with no systematization but with the already mentioned prerogatives of the Roman church- her foundation by Christ and infallibility – and of primacy – the inherited personal sanctity of the pope and his rights of deposition; the honorary privileges, including that of having his foot’ kissed and exclusive right to use the imperial insignia, this last probably directed against the Byzantine patriarch; the supreme legislative arid judicial powers and its effects; superepiscopal authority with regard to the deposition and institution of bishops, ordaining of clerics, determining of diocesan boundaries, and so forth; and excommu­nication and absolution from oaths as a consequence of the papal coercive power.

Gregory expected all including the princes to be loyal adherents of St. Peter and his vicar. He made use of the Christian princes for the interests of religion and of the church. Thus he authorized some of them to proceed with force against unworthy bishops who defied ecclesiastical penalties or he asked for their help when the Roman church or specific areas of the Christian world were threatened. Hehad no hesitation about summoning a holy war. In fact he even established a troop of his own, the militia sancti Petri, and sought to turn it into a real army in times of crisis, by voluntary enlistments, by military & aid which he claimed from bishops or vassals or by mercaenaries.

After Gregory’s death Victor III was elected in May 1086; died on 16 September 1087. On 12 March 1088 the cardinal bishop Eudes of Ostia was elected as pope Urban II (1088-99). He was a former member of Cluny and resembled Gregory in real for the church’s freedom. He led the reform papacy toward victory. Urban regarded Henrydeposed and Henrywould acknowledge no pope but Clement III. While Gregory had chiefly desired free papal elections, Urban and his successors regarded the investiture ceremony as of greater significance, hence lay investiture now came to fore and Urban officially and publicly forbade with their office. At the synod of Melfi in 1089 he renewed the prohibition of simony, clerical marriage and lay investiture, but he instructed his legates to be generous. In individual cases he recognized bishops who had been invested by the kings. At Piacenzs in March 1095 Urban renewed the decrees against simony and clerical marriage. Again at Clermont he forbade church men to take an oath of homage to a layman.

The council of Clermont in 1095 was important because it summoned to the first crusade. Urban died on 29 July 1099.

Pascal II (1099-1118) There was a clash between Pascal and Henry V. When pope excommunicated Henry, he invaded Italy. In 1111 pope offered to surrender completely all the feudal rights of the church in Germany – temporal jurisdiction lands endowments, privileges, and all – in return for Henry’s abandonment of lay investiture. This was opposed by the cardina­ls. It did not work, Henry then arrested the pope and coerced him to cease all oppositions to lay investiture. Pascal died on 21 January 1118.

Calixtus II (1119-1124)

Concordat of Worms – 23 September 1122.

During the pontificate of Calixtus the investiture, controversy was brought to an end by the Concordat of Worm on 23 September 1122. In it Henry renounced investiture with ring a and staff but retained the right to investiture with the regalia by means of scepter to be performed in Germany immediately after the election, but in the case of the Burgundian and of the Italian sees within six months after the consecration. He also granted canonical election and free consecration. However, in Germany he retained a substantial influence on the election- in his or his representative’s presence.

To ratify the concordat Calixtus convoked The First Lateran council in 1123. The council concerned itself with disciplinary measures. By its 18th canon it sought to bring the proprietary church system under control. It was the first ecumenical council to meet in the West. No new dogma was proclaimed, no disciplinary laws were enacted, but it solemnly defined the principles of reform in such forcible terms that they could no longer be called in question.

The Crusades

Since the Arabic invasion of the Holy places, the Byzantine empire had long been waging war against Islam as a defense of Christendom. But the West had no complaint since pilgrims were permitted to visit Palestine without difficulty provided they purchased a permit from the Arab officials. But after 1050 the Seljuk Turks took control of the Holy Land and manifested fill the intolerance of the fanatical convert. The Turks massacred Christian pilgrims and desecrated sacred shrines. Reports of these atrocities and the entreaties ofthe Byzantine emperors for help provided the occasion for the crusade. Thus the crusade joined together two themes the holy war or military expedition blessed by the church, and the pilgrimage to holy places, from the beginning the papacy was prominently involved in the move­ment. It issued incentives to go on crusades, such as immunity from taxes and debt payment, protection of Crusaders’ property and families and especially indulgence, which guaranteed the crusaders’ entry into heaven and reduced or abolished his time in purgatory. The popes sent out crusade preachers, organized financial support, and sought to provide transport.


The First Crusade: Though Gregory VII planned a Christian offensive; it was Urban II who actually inaugurated the first crusade with his closing address at the council of Clermont in 1095. In his address he proposed many reasons to start the crusade. A number of favors, temporal and spiritual were offered to those who would take the cross, among them a plenary indulgence, the first such ever offered. Christ died for men: Christians should not shrink for material considerations from the hardship and danger of the attempt to rescue the places hallowed by his life. The people responded with tremendous enthusiasm. Cries of “God wills it” rang out, thousands pressed forward to take the crusader s vow, and cloth crosses were fastened to their clothing as a sign of their intention. Crusader = one signed with the cross

The first crusade was rather successful because of the internal divisions among the Muslims. The crusaders captured Nicaea in 1097, Odessa (1097), Antioch (1098) and Jerusalem (1099). Then the feat in kingdom of Jerusalem was organized with vassal dependencies and a Latin hierarchy was set up alongside the Greek and Monophysite churches. Latin patriarchs at Jerusalem with four archbishops and nine bishops, at Antioch, with four archbishops and seven bishops, provided the ecclesiastical framework.

The crusaders ignored the existence and status of the many eastern churches formerly under Muslim rule. They were unable to understand the Eastern Christian way of life and their ecclesiastical traditions.

Military monasticism: Monasticism adapted itself to the cause of the crusades by producing the military orders. These were orders of monks, mostly unorgained and lay brothers obeying the usual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but having as their special purpose the military defense of the Holy Land. They were recruited from the West. They became the backbone of the Christian army in the East.

The Knights of Hospitallers: They originated before the crusades about 1023 as a nursing group for the care of pilgrims in Jerusa­lem. About 1120 they transformed themselves into the Knights of the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem and became purely military.


The Templars: were founded by Hugh de Payen, a Burgundian knight. They derived their name from their headquarters near the temple of Solomon at Jerusalem, which received in 1118. With the colla­boration of St. Bernard, Hugh drew up a rule modeled on Cistercian practices. The Templars remained active in medical work, and their red cross on a white field is still used as a symbol of mercy. German knights established the Order of St. Mary, popularly known as Teutonic Knights, about 1190.

The Second Crusade: 1146-1148.

In 1144 Edessa fell to the Turks. Then pope Eugine III commissioned St. Bernard to preach a second major crusade. Bernard persuaded Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany to lead the crusade. But it was a failure.

The Third Crusade: 1189-1192. The capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by Saladin evoked the third crusade. Clement III induced Richard I of England and Philip II of France to rescue the Holy City. Frederick Barbarossa of Germany also cooperated in the beginning. They reached up to Cilicia, Frederick drowned in river. They had to return without any success.

The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204): Innocent III (1198-1216) made use of the diplomatic machinery to urge the emperors of Europe to take up the cross. New indulgences were proclaimed, general tax was levied for the first time on all church property to supply the necessary funds. The fourth crusade was a disappointment. They attacked the Christian Hungarian territory and incurred papal excommunication before going on to capture Constantinople from the Byzentines and to establish the Latin empire of Constantinople. Innocent expected the reunion of the Greeks, but the tactless papal legate ruined the chances of reunion. The Latin empire fell in 1261.

The Fifth Crusade (1218-1221): At the Fourth Lateran council (1225) innocent launched the Fifth crusade but he was dead before it met disaster in Egypt largely owing to the incompetence of cardinal Pelagius, the papal legate. Thus it was a failure.


The Sixth crusade (1228):Pope Gregory excommunicated Frederick II for having failed to depart for the crusade on schedule. Without the cooperation of the friars and the military orders Frederick won by diplomacy the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. The Sultan relinquished these cities by the treaty of Jaffa in 1229 on the condition that toleration be granted to Muslims living there.


The Seventh Crusade (1247-50): The Muslims reentered Jerusalem in 1244. The expedition was made to capture Jerusalem under Loius IX of France. Loius was imprisoned and a huge amount was given for his release.

The Eight Crusade (1270) This was also under the leadership of Loius IX at the request of Urban IV (1261-1264).  His death forced the army to retreat.

The Children’ s crusade (1212): It was a crusade conducted by the youth of Germany and France. It was also a failure.

The results of Crusades

1. Great financial loss. The feudal lords increased the taxes

2. It opened the free access to pilgrim centers

3. It helped the evangelization among the Muslims

4. It widened the break between the Last and the West

5. It helped the West to understand the eastern way of life

6. It caused the persecution of Christian by the Muslims

7. Some preached crusade as a means of sanctification

8. Many innocent people were killed

9. Sometimes the secular rulers made use of it for their purpose

10. Crusade was not the way of Christ.

The balance sheet of the crusades

It may appear that the crusade was a failure and the balance was disastrous: so much suffering, so many sacrifice for so little. Thousands of the Europeans lost their life during the expeditions. Materially it achieved nothing. Advantages like pilgrimages could be achieved by negotiation.

The reunion of the churches also had not been effected. The Greek church was ready to accept the Roman creed together with filioque, to recognize the use of unleavened bread, and to acknowledge the primacy of the pope. At the council of Lyons in 1274 the reconciliation seemed complete. But the clegy opposed the reunion. The reason for this was the siege of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204. On 15 April 1204 the city was besieged and those three days were filled with horror. They broke the holy images worshipped by the faithful. They threw the relics of martyrs into places which were dirty. In the great church of St. Sophia they smashed the high altar, which was made of precious materials, and shared the fragments among themselves.

They stabled their horses there; stole the sacred vessels; tore wrought gold and silver from the pulpit, throne and doors. A public prostitute sat in the patriarchal chair and sang an obscene song. Hearing this pope Innocent wrote: “These soldiers of Christ who should have turned their swords against the infidel have steeped them in christian blood. They spared neither religion, nor age, nor sex. They openly committed adultery, fornication, incest… They stripped the altars of silver, violated the sanctuaries, and carried off icons, crosses and relics.”

But we cannot say the crusade was useless and harmful. It enabled Christendom to become conscious of its own fundamental unity, they felt a kind of spiritual association with the pope and the holy places. In this sense it can be considered as one of the outstanding achievements of the medieval church. Many of the actors in this drama gave but the best of them were true witnesses to Christian faith and morals.

The crusades had some mixed results. From the ethnical point of view, there was an importation of Western elements in to the East. The spread of French language in Syria and Egypt were due to the crusades. The oriental elements were also introduced in the West. So it opened up wider horizons for the West.

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The Carthusians took inspiration from Egypt and, the desert Fathers and also shared the monastic instincts of the West. The monks lived in solitude in their individual huts with their own gardens, assembling for only a portion of the daily office and an occasional meal. Silence, solitude, mortification and a meager diet shaped their contemplative life. Lay brothers called conversion handled most of the outside contacts.

Cistercians: It was founded in 1098 by St. Robert of Molesme, a wandering monk in search of perfection.  In 1098 with 20 like-minded companions Robert left in order to build a new reform monastery in the wilderness of Citeaux near Langers. He did not make much progress. In 1099 at the order of papal legate he returned to Molesme, but his disciples continued his work there. It made progress under the Englishman St. Stephen Harding (1109-1135). The first daughter house was founded in 1113 at La Ferte. At the time of the death of Stephen it had eighty houses.

The individual abbeys are autonomous and corporately united in the general chapter attended by all abbots. Thus both the rights of the individual monastery and the interests of the entire order were assured. First they subordinated to episcopal jurisdiction, out the exempted, came under pope. Their general chapter became the higher court of appeal in the order. The abbeys promised one another mutual economic help, the preserva­tion of a uniform discipline and the cultivation of a simpli­fied liturgy. In order to free from feudal ties it declined benefices and reintroduced manual labour. The white habit, the strict seclusion from the world by means of settlement in deserted areas, the austerity of the life in food, dwelling, and clothing and the simplicity of the liturgy gave the order a great refutation. They followed the Benedictine rule.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The expansion of Citeaux is insepara­bly linked with St. Bernard. He was a Burgundian aristocrat, born 1090 in Dijon. In 1112 Bernard entered Citeaux with his thirty relatives and friends. In 1115 at the age of twenty-five he became the abbot of the new foundation at Clairvaux which, before Bernard’s death in 1153, comprised 700 monks and sixty-five daughter houses.

Bernard was the most influential man of his age. He was the first of the great medieval mystic and a leader of a new spirit of ascetic simplicity and personal devotion. Leading a life of prayer he emphasized God’s love and believed that

Christians come to know God by loving him. Bernard preached that physical love which was natural to man, could be transformed by prayer and discipline into a redeeming spiritual love, the passi­on for Christ. Bernard did not hesitate to criticize and correct the powerful men of his age. In 1130 he intervened in a controversy over the selection of a new pope. He unhesitatingly backed Innocent II as morally more worthy candidate. He persuaded the kings of England, France and the Empire to accept Innocent II.  He made peace between king Louis VII of France and his feudal subjects. He condemned the heresies of Peter Abelard and Arnold of Brescia. He preached the second crusade and persuaded Louis VII and Conrad III of Germany to take the cross. Privately Bernard practiced the most rigorous self-denial. John of Sailsbury referred to Bernard as ‘sanctissimus Abbas’. Bernard died in August 1153.

The schism of 1130

The concordat of Worms was a papal victory over the temporal rulers. But the new factions in Rome striving to lay hold of the papacy for their own advantage created problems. At the death of Calixtus II in 1124, the two factions Frangipani and Pierleoni clashed and the Latter triumphed with the elevation of Celestine II. But during the ceremony of installation the Frangipani broke in, tore the papal mantle from Celestine’s shoulders and forced him to resign. In terror the cardinals chose Honorius II, who was canonically elected after a few days. The six years of Honorius reign was peaceful. He succeeded to safeguard the Concordat of Worms and to extend it by renouncing the right of royal presence at elections.

It seemed the electoral procedure of Nicholas II in 1059 gave the cardinal priests and deacons merely a right to consent to an election completed by cardinal bishops. The cardinal priests and deacons insisted that all cardinals should have an equal vote and in 1130 as Honorius lay dying they enforced this issue.

After the death of Honorius fourteen or fifteen cardinals, including a majority of the cardinal bishops, elected Innocent II, while twenty-four cardinals – 2 bishops, 13 priests, and 9 deacons – voted for Cardinal Peter Pierleoni who styled himself Anacletus II. Both were consecrated on the same day. Through the financial and military resources of his supporters, Anacletus mastered the city, while Innocent fled to France.

At this time Bernard of Clairvaux supported Innocent because the person elected rather than the election itself. He forced the kings to obey Innocent. But only after the death of Anacletus in 1138 that Innocent succeeded in establishing himself in the Lateran.

The Second Lateran Council (1139) Innocent convoked the tenth ecumenical council in 1139 to clear up the problems raised by the schism and to put the church back on the track of reform. Decrees were issued on simony, clerical marriage, excommunication, the peace and truce of God, and condemnation of usury. It also excommunicated Roger of Sicily for his refusal to recognize Innocent II. In the battle against Roger the papal force was defeated and the pope became a prisoner until he lifted the excommunication of Roger and confirmed his royal title.

In the last weeks of Innocent II the Romans rose in revolt, repudiated the papal temporal rule and organized a Republic. It lasted twelve years, 1143-1155. It had the support of Arnold of Brescia, a talented priest and friend of Abelard. Arnold insisted on the abolition of all temporal rights of the church, inclu­ding the surrender of the temporal power of the popes. In repri­sal for an assault on a cardinal in Rome and for the Romans’ refusal to recognize him as pope, Adrian IV placed am interdict on the city, forbidding all church services of any kind until Arnold was expelled. By the help of Frederick Barbarosse of Germany Arnold was captured and executed. Papal temporal autho­rity was re-established.

The Renaissance of Twelfth Century

The features of the 12th century renaissance are the gro­wth of institutions within which learning could flourish, the rediscovery of Aristotelian logic as the guide to the new, lear­ning, and the creation of a new technique for systematic study.

Education during the age of Charlemagne and the tenth and eleventh centuries was carried on mainly by the cathedral schools, the former being more famous until the eleven­th century.

A learned monk was appointed to teach novices and when he was a famous scholar, adult monks from other houses would come to study with him. Other young men from well to do families would also be sent to study under the monastic tutor and many of these would join the clergy or take up scholar work.

By the twelfth century the cathedral schools surpassed the monastic schools. Students in these schools were generally desti­ned for service as clerics. The chancellor of the school gives a license to teach (certificate or degree). The famous cathedral schools were Laon, Paris, Chartees, Cologne etc.

Debates were carried on various subjects in these schools. There was a discussion around the meaning of the words of con­secration in the mass; “This is my body, this is my blood.” Berengar held that a real and true change takes place in these elements, but that the change is spiritual and that the bread and wine remain of the same substance. Lafranc ( + 1089) and other theologians held that the underlying substance of the bread and wine was changed to Christ’s blood and body while the accidents (touch, taste, sight, and smell) of the bread and wine remained the same. During the long and bitter controversy (1045-80) the term transubstantiation emerged. Berengar was condemned and was forced to disown his views.

Another controversy was on the work of Christ, on the cross. How could the death of Christ work to reconciliation between God and man? The traditional belief was that through sin mankind had made itself subject to the devil. The mark, of this subjection was death. God in his grace wished to free man, but he was unable to because the devil’s claim was just. Consequently to neutralize Satan’s claim, a ransom had to be paid in the form of a valuable person over whom satan had no right – a sinless man. Thus the devil was tricked when Christ was crucified, because the Son of God was sinless; now God can save with justice whomsoever he pleases.

St. Anselm (+ 1109), the primate of England and archbishop Canterbury challenged this theory in his book ‘Cur Deus Homo? Why God became Man, be believed that when a person sins he breaks the right order of the universe and is alienated from. God. Because he is just, God must be given a satisfaction for sin before he can forgive the sinner. Christ was the sinless man, sent by the mercy of God; he was able to offer to God the sanctification owed by the human race, this explanation was widely accepted in Europe and changed the whole outlook concerning the incarnation and the at qnement. Anselm also taught that faith must lead to the right use” of reason: ‘I believe in order that I may understand. He was first to put forward the ontological argument for the existence of God. ‘God is that than which no greater can be conceived’

One of the leading figures of the schools of Europe in this period was Peter Abelard (1079-1142). He was born in Brittany in 1079. He became convinced that he knew more than his teachers. He arrogantly challenged and quarreled with them on a variety of subjects. He had many followers; he had a love affair with Heloise  which shattered his academic carrier and cut short of his intellectual influence. In 1115 he agreed to tutor the teenage niece of Fulbert, a canon of Notre Dame Cathedral. A very close teacher-student relationship developed which resulted in a son whom they called Astrolabe. Later to pacify her irrate uncle, Abelard agreed to marry Heloise secretly. Despite all of their precautions, ugly rumours circulated. Heloise agreed to retire to a local convent rather than further damage her lover’s academic reputation. Fulbert considered this an evasion of res­ponsibility and retaliated by hiring a band of thugs who broke into Abelard’s chambers one-night and castrated him. Following this humiliation Abelard became a Benedictine monk. He soon resu­med his teaching and once again became involved in bitter cont­roversy. In 1121 the council of Soissons condemned his views on the trinity without a hearing. After wandering for twenty years in 1136 he returned to Paris and enjoyed renewed popularity and wrote several important books. He helped to make Paris one of the intellectual capitals of Europe. In 1141 the council of Sens condemned several selected statements from his writings. He died near Cluny on his way to Rome in 1142 to appeal to the pope.

Abelard’s book SIC et non (yes and no) 1122 discusses the relationship between faith and reason in Christian theology. He believed that genuine Christianity was both reasonable and consistent. He began a search for the ultimate authority in the faith and practice of the church, which was to culminate in Luther’s return to Scripture in the early sixteenth. Century. His desire to reconcile faith and reason in the context of Christian theology set the stage for the work of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. He was one of the pioneers of Schola­sticism.

Scholasticism: Scholasticism got its name from the medieval monastery and cathedral schools. It covers the period from the ninth century to the end of the fourteenth from Erigena to William of Ockham. Anselm, Peter Abelard, Hugh of St. Victor, Peter Lombard, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus are among the great schoolmen.

The scholastic schoolmen had a certain style and way of thinking. The theology, which interested them, was basically philosophical. Moreover their way of doing it was to examine the logical dinks and implications of ideas. The scholastic method of setting up contradictory statements concerning a problem, and then resolving them by reason was popularized in the twelfth century by Gratian in his systematizing of canon law in the Decretum. In this work he would state a law and, if it was not contradicted, it was allowed to stand. But if there a are opposition in statements he tried to reconcile them through logic. Decretum Gratiani was published about 1148. It was a systematic arrangement of over athousand canons with Gratian’s comments to reconcile apparent contradictions. It became the only manual used in teaching and in court practice. Because of its wi­de usage and apparent acceptance by the popes it came to be considered the first part of the later Code of Canon law.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was the greatest scholastic theolo­gian of the middle Ages; He was born in Aquino, Italy. When he decided to join the Dominican order, his family tried to dissu­ade him by tempting him with a prostitute, kidnapping him and offering to buy him the post of archbishop of Naples. All of these attempts were unsuccessful and he went to study at Paris, the ce­ntre of theological learning, he was nicknamed Dump Ox. He studi­ed under Albert the Great. His work comprises eighteen large volumes, commentaries on Books of Bible, on Peter Lombard’s sentences, discussions of thirteen works of Aristotle, and a variety of disputations and sermons. His two most important works are: Summa Theologiae, Summa contra Gentiles. His famous five ways to prove the existence of God by reason based on what can be known from the world. At the council of Trent his works were used to draft its decrees. In 1879 the pope declared Thomism eternally valid.

The Universities

The cathedral schools culminated in the foundation of universities. The term universities describe a guild or corporation of either teachers or scholars who might self-defense against the town in which they were located or to discipline or profligate students (or professors). A city w with a well-known cathedral might become the center for a great number of schools. At first scholars would rent rooms and students would pay to come and listen to lectures. Guilds of professors organized the universities of the Northern Europe, while in Italy the students formed the guilds. The first univers­ities obtained a charter from the pope; those established later applied to the secular ruler.

The first universities were Bologna, Paris, Salerno, Oxford, Cambridge, Montpeller, Padua, Salamanca, Toulouse. The seven subjects were taught – grammar, logic, rhetoric, arith­metic, geometry, astronomy and music. The graduate faculties taug­ht medicine, law and theology.

There were small and large universities, the largest had between 3000 and 4000 students. One could start studies at the age of twelve and a lecture in theology must be thirty-five. The only entrance requirement was acknowledge of Latin; the first four years study consisted of the liberal arts. The next two years’ work consisted of study, a teaching assistantship, and thesis defense and culminated in the MA degree. This enabled a student to go on to study law, medicine or theology. At Paris, if he decided to earn the DP. In theology he would spend six years studying the Bible and Peter Lombard’s systematic theology (the Sentences). Finally three years’ study of the writings of the as early church theologian and the Bible led to the STD which qualified the scholar to teach theology in the same way as the MA entitled him to teach the arts.

The students paid their fees to each professor. The teacher reads the text and gives a commentary. The teacher used to diet-ate the text. Later comments of the outstanding teachers were incorporated into the dictated materials. The students first stayed invented rooms, then in the beginning of thirteenth century hostels were founded. At Paris Sorbonne was the most famous college and in England, Oxford and Cambridge where clerics lived together under a rule. Their chapel was arranged in a simi­lar manner to a monastic chapel.

The scholastics tried to reconcile Christian revelation with Aristotelian philosophy. In the early middle ages Platonic ideas prevailed and its defenders were known as realists because they believed in the reality of ideas or universals. The nomina­lists challenged them and they maintained that universals were only useful names for talking about the world.

The Church in the High Middle Ages

Frederick I Barbarossa succeeded Conrad III of Germany who died on 15 February 1152. Pope Eugene III had given his approval of the election of Frederick on 4 March 1152. Treaty of Const­ance between the pope and the king on 23 March 1153 stipulated a mutual cooperation between them. Each promised to protect and guarantee the other’s honour. Eugene died on 8 July 1153 and was succeeded by Anastasius (1153-54). Anastius was a feeble old man and his was a pontificate of transition.

Hadrian IV (1154-1159)

In January 1155 Hadrian renewed with Frederick I the Treaty of Constance on behalf of himself and his successors. At Sutri on 8 June 1155 the pope met Frederick on his way to Rome for his imperial coronation. At first the emperor refused the service of bridle and stirrup and then performed it. In return the pope crowned on 18 June 1155. On the same day there was a rising of the Romans and Frederick put down it in blood. Since Frederick had not kept the decisions of the Treaty of Constance, the pope turned to king William I of Sicily and in 1156 he concluded the treaty of Benevento. William was given the royal title. Barbarosaa considered this as a violation of the treaty of Constance and of his imperial rights in southern Italy. Adrian denied the emperor’s charges and sent legates to the diet of Besancon in 1157 to protest an attack by the German knights on the abp of Lund. In the pope’s message, read by card. Roland Bandielli, there was reference to the pope’s bestowal of the imperial crown: we would be glad to confer even greater benefits on you if that were possible. The word benficia was translated to fief. There was an imperial protest to which card asked “from whom then does the emperor hold the empire if not from the pope? There was an attempt to kill the cardinal but it was calmed.

In 1158 Frederick crossed Alps to assert his claims in the words of the code of Justinian: “the emperor’s will is the law’. The opposition was crushed. The temporal rights of the papacy were evidently in danger out Adrian’s death postponed the impending crisis.


Alexander III (1159-1181)

Among the cardinals there were two groups on the issue of co-operation or resistance to Frederick. The anti-imperial majority elected card. Roland as Alexander III, while a minority of three cardinals elected cardinal Octavian as Victor IV. Because of the riots either candidate was safe in Rome. Victor took refuge with the emperor. Frederick withheld his own decis­ion, He proposed a general council to decide the matter. Accor­dingly a council was convoked at Pavia in 1160. A few prelates except his vassals attended. Alexander denied its competence but Victor submitted his and won recognition. Thus Frederick and a few German bishops fell into schism.

Alexander excommunicated the emperor and Victor and fled to France. Henry II of England and Louis VII of France acknow­ledged Alexander. The Cistercians and Carthusians supported him and did much to insure his success. In 1167 Frederick conquered Rome and installed Paschal III as antipope. But a terrible plague ravaged his army and carried of thousands of the German troops. Frederick returned to Germany.

In 1176 Frederick made another expedition in Italy. The Italian cities organized the Lombard League and resisted the emperor. The Germans were defeated. The emperor agreed to make peace. Preliminary talks were done at Anagni and the final nego­tiations took place in Venice. This treaty stipulated that Frederick should recognize Alexander as the lawful pope, hand over to him the regalia of the patrimonium, restore the confiscated properties. The pope would release Frederick from excommunication and recognize him as emperor and his son Henry as king of the Romans.

After having been absolved from excommunication, Frederick entered Venice on 24 July1177 and prostrated himself before the pope who lifted him up and gave him the kiss of peace and blessed him, while the Germans sang Te Deum. At Venice the king performed the honorary service he had once objected to. The emperor, king Henry and empress took oath of loyalty to abide by the peace of Venice. Thus the schism ended.

The Third Lateran Council (1179)

In the preliminary treaty of Anagni and in the peace of Venice (1177, July21) it was agreed to convoke a general council. Accordingly the pope opened the council on 5 March 1179 at Lateran. Bishop Rufinus of Assisi delivered the inaugural addre­ss. Some 300 bishops, abbots, priests scholars and attendants of bishops were present. Twenty-three canons were the fruit of discussions at three sessions on 5, 14, and 19 March.

 – the measures agreed to in Anagni and Venice for the liqui­dation of the schism were confirmed.

– Every cathedral was to have a school of its own.

– No cleric was to be without a benefice.

– The bishop was to look out for the welfare of his clergy.

– Canon 1 demanded a two-thirds majority for validity of the election of the pope.

– The election was restricted to the college exclusively.

–                      Decrees also were issued against heresies, on relations of Christians with non-Christians, crusades etc.

The church in England: Thomas Becket and Henry II

Between 1162 and 1170 there was a confrontation between king Henry II and the primate of England, Thomas Becket the archbishop of Canterbury. Henry after his accession to the throne in 1154, began to restore his rights and claims of the crown to control the bishoprics and abbeys. From 1155 the archdeacon of Canterbury Thomas Becket was the chancellor. Henry made him the primate of English church on 27 May 1162. As chancellor Thomas had been a friend of the king. But he carefully represen­ted the interests of the church. From his consecration he seemed to be another person, fully devoted to spiritual and pastoral life. He stood up for the rights and liberties of the Church. The attitudes of king and the archbishop made a confrontation inevitable.

At a council at Westminister on 1 October 1163 Henry compl­ained of the increase in the number of crimes committed by clerics and the leniency of the spiritual courts. The king sugg­ested, “clergy, examined and degraded by Episcopal courts if guilty, should be turned to royal judges for punishment. But the archbishop replied that a doubly punishment for a single offense was prohibited by canon law. Henry II summoned the royal council at Clarendon in January 1164, which in 16 articles nullified the independence of the English church from the crown. The feudal dependence of the episcopate was emphasized, episcopal elections were to take place under royal control, bishops-elect were to take the oath of fealty before being consecrated, bishops’ rights of disposal of church property were restricted, they were bound by the same services to the crown as were secular vassals. Ecclesiastical courts had to accommodate themselves to the judicial procedures mf the secular courts and their competence was considerably restricted, while that of the secular’ courts was ex-tended to matters of debt, perjury, disputes over benefices, questions of patronage, and the criminal and civil cases of clerics, Bishops’ Dowers of excommunication were curtailed in regard to the crown’ s tenants-in-chief and members of royal household and of the courts. All these were juridically formulated and made a law with the written consent of the bishops. Thomas protested this diminution of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and of episcopal liberties.

In October 1164 the king cited Thomas before the council at Northampton on the basis of Clarendon. Thomas did not accept the judgment but appealed to the pope. Then he fled to France and was to spend six years there. The pope condemned many of the canons of Clarendon arid confirmed him archbishop. Prom 1164 to 1166 Thomas stayed with the Cistercians. On April 24, 1164 the pope named him legate in England.

There were several attempts to reconcile the king and the ar­chbishop. In 1170 December Thomas returned to England and exco­mmunicated the bishops who sided with the king. Henry was irri­tated by this and said: “isn’t there anyone to deliver me from this hateful priest?” 4 Knights of the royal household took him at his word and murdered in his cathedral. He said: “I am ready to die for my God, if thereby liberty and peace are restored to the church”.

Responsibility for the murder of Thomas was assigned to the king, archbishop of York, and bishop of London. The accused were asked to make reparation for their crime. On 21 May 1172 the king and the accused bishops took an oath that they had neither commanded nor desired the death of the archbishop. Henry swore that he would set out on the crusade and would keep himself at the disposal of the pope. He would permit appeals to Rome in cases before ecclesiastical courts. He would disavow customs hurtful to the church as these had been enforced under his auth­ority. He would restore to the church of Canterbury all its pro­perty. He would also receive in peace all clerics and lay persons who had remained loyal to Thomas and give back their possessions. Henry and his son were absolved. Alexander IIIsolemnly canonized Thomas on 21 February 1173. In July 1174 the king made a pil­grimage to Canterbury to do penencae for his share in the saint’s death.

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Frederick promised to leave Sicily independent. He swore that after the coronation he would relinquish the kingdom of Sicily to his son Henry, who had already acknowledged the supreme power of the Roman church over the kingdom. Thus Innocent was able to maintain order in Sicily.

Innocent and France

Innocent clashed with the king of France, Philip I, on the question of the enforcement of church’s marriage laws. Philip married princes Ingeborg of Denmark in 1193 and repudiated her the day after the wedding. “French bishops annulled the marriage on grounds of a very distant affinity. Ingeborg appealed to pope. Innocent denounced the action of the French bishops and ordered Philip to set aside Agnes of Meran, whom he had meanwhile marri­ed, and take back Ingeborg. When king refused to, Innocent placed

France under interdict for six months during 1200.

The issue was complicated by an attempted mediation of Innocent in Franco-English war. Philip declared: “in feudal matters the king is not bound to take instructions from the Holy See”, the pope should not interfere in disputes between sovereign rulers”. He did not accept pope’s decisions by Philip grew wider and in the next century with Philip the Fair it culminated.

Innocent and England

Innocent’s clash with John of England started with the election of a successor to Archbishop Hubert Walter of Canterbury in 1205. The monastic chapter elected its superior Reginald and asked the pope to confirm him. The suffrogan bishops elected John, bishop of Norwich, the king’s candidate who took possess­ion and was invested with the see by the crown. In December Innocent annulled both election and had some of the monks who were in Rome elect a candidate of his own, the English curial cardinal Stephen Langton. Though the king rejected the pope consecrated him in June 1207, and invested with the palli­um despite the absence of the royal approval. In March 1208 the pope laid on England an interdict that was in general carefully observed. The king expelled the Canterbury monks, confiscated the property and revenues of clerics and bishops who obeyed the interdict, and left sees and abbeys, which became vacant unfilled. Negotiations for a settlement broke down and king John was ex­communicated in January 1209. In 1212 the pope declared John deposed by releasing all Englishman from their oath of alligiance and commissioned Philip II of France to attack his old enemy deposed by releasing all Englishmen from their oath of allegi­ance and commissioned Philip of France to attack England. Since Philip streneously pushed forward his preparations, while John was not sure of the support of his barons, John accepted the papal conditions of peace of 13 May 1213: to recognize archbishop to permit the return of the fugitive bishops, to restore all the confiscated property of the church. Two days later, on his won initiative, he placed the kingdom under the protection of the Holy See as a papal fief, promising 700 pounds sterling for England and 300 for Ireland as an annual census. This was paid total 1366.

After this agreement the pope stood by the king in the war against the rebels who on 15 June 1215 compelled John to issue the Magna Carta libertatum, which restricted the crown’s feudal and sovereign rights. The pope declared the magna carta null and void. Then, when the French invaded England partly in response to the pope’s earlier mandate, the pope threatened to excommunicate them and helped John. Pope suspended the rebels including Langton.

In Rome Bangton strove in vain for the lifting of his suspension. The pope forbade his return to England. At the forth Lateran council he renewed the excommunication of all the rebel barons, laid an interdict on London, and rebuked the French king for supporting the rebels. These rebels had offered the English throne to prince Louis of France who married the niece of John. Louis landed in England in 1216 May, but was excommunicated by the papal legate. In the meantime Innocent died on 6 July 1216.

The Fourth Lateran Council – 1215

The twofold purpose of the council was the recovery of the Holy Land and discipline and reform of abuses. 42 bishops, 800 abbots and priors, many laymen representing the rulers attended it. In three sessions the council passed seventy decrees. The two most famous canons of the council were: i. a profession of faith directed against Albigensian and Waldensian heretics and ii, imposing the obligation of annual confession and communion at Easter time for all members of the church. The first canon also gave official sanction to the term “transubstantiation”. Certain disciplinary decrees were also issued. New religious orders were forbidden unless they used one of the monastic rules alrea­dy recognized the 42nd canon supplied a clear distinction of ecclesiastical and secular courts. Immunity of the clergy from taxation was confirmed. In regard to matrimony, the council limi­ted the impediments of consanguinity and affinity, renewed the prohibition of clandestine marriages, and introduced the obligation of the banns. C.62 attacked the abuses in the cult of relics and decreed that new relics could be exposed for veneration only with the express consent of the Holy See. Fifty-nine of the seventy decrees were adopted into the law book of Gregory IX. Thus it became a conciliar source of the modern Codex Juris canonici after Trent.

The Waldensians

Peter Waldo or Valdes, a wealthy merchant of Lyons gave away his worldly goods in 1175 or 1176 and decided to follow the example of Christ by leading a simple life of poverty and preaching. The basis of his evangelism was the translation of Latin NT into the vernacular. He had some followers. Pope Alexander III at the third Lateran council (1179) approved it, provided that they obtain permission from the local authorities for the preaching. They were known Waldensians who spread the message of the Bible and exalted the virtue of poverty. In 1181 the archbishop of Lyons prohibited their scriptural preaching. But the Waldensians began to preach more zealously. In 1184 at Verona pope    Lucius III excommunicated them and directed that they were to be eliminated by episcopal inquisition and secular punishment.

The Waldensians fled from Lyons. They started to organize the movement as a church with bishops, priests and deacons, eventually they began to claim to be the true church. They spread throughout Lombardy and Provence. Around 1207 some of them came back to the Catholic Church and Innocent gave them special pro­tection. At Lateran IV in 1213 the pope condemned them. In spite of all these difficulties they were able to call a general coun­cil at Bergamo.

Belief: The two fundamental issues are: 1. The unauthorized preaching of the Bible, and 2. The rejection of the intermediary role of the clergy. They think that they are not subject to the pope or his decrees of excommunication. They rejected or re­interpreted for themselves all the catholic sacraments except confession and absolution and the Eucharist. In theory all Wal­densians men or women could administer these sacraments and the Eucharist was usually held only once a year. They may have some kind of baptism. All catholic feast days, festivals and prayers were rejected as a man-made and not based on the NT. They made exceptions in the case of Sundays, the feast day of Mary the mother of Christ and the Lord’s Prayer. They denied purgatory because there is no basis in the NT. This led them to reject the catholic belief in the value of alms and prayers for the dead.

The Waldensians are divided into superiors and ordinary believers. The superiors are expected to live more austere life depending on the alms of their followers and preaching. They Waldensians were also accused of rejecting the entire physical paraphernalia traditionally associated with the church buildings, altars, cemeteries, holy water, liturgies, pilgrimages, indulgences etc. were strong in central and Eastern Europe. Their doctr­ine later influenced the Protestant Reformation.

The Cathars

The Cathars (Gk. Katharoi –puritans) flourished in Western Europe in the 12th and 13th c. They believed in two gods, a good-god who created the invisible spiritual world and an evil god who created the visible material world. Matter, including the human body, was evil and was ruled by the evil god, whom the Cathars identified with the God of OT. He had imprisoned the human soul in its earthly body and death merely caused the soul to migrate to another body, human or animal. Salvation could be attained only by breaking free from this miserable cycle and Christ son of the good God had been sent by him to reveal to men the way of this salvation. Christ was a life-giving Spirit, whose earthly body was only an appearance. They accepted the NT and various Christian teachings, but rejected the incarnation and the sacraments. The one Cathar sacrament is consolamentum or spiritual baptism. It was administered by the laying on of hands. They believed that this would enable the soul to escape from the evil material world, They held that this was the baptism instituted by Christ, which gave the Holy Spirit to the recipient removed his original sin, and enabled him on death to enter the pure world of spirit and be united with the good God. The consolamentum had been handed down from the apostles by a succession of good men, but the church had perverted Christ’s teachings arid ordinances and was enslaved by the evil god.

The Cathars are divided into two classes; 1. The Perfect-they received the consolamentum, 2. The believers – they had not J received it. The perfect lived in strict poverty as ascetics, involving chastity, frequent fasts, vegetarianism and the renu­nciation of marriage and oaths. As they could alone pray directly to God, they receive unquestioning obedience and great venerati­on from the believers. Most believers postpond the consolamentum because of the rigour required for the perfect.

After 1140, Cathars spread mainly in northern Italy and southern France. The French Cathars are called Albigeneians, being most numerous in the district of Albi. By 1200 southern France might become entirely Cathars. The Cathars were protected by anticlerical merchants and nobles. The perfect were contrasted with the clergy of the Catholic Church who were corrupted.


It was a special court with a peculiar power to judge intentions as well as actions. Heresies were a problem in the church from the beginning. During middle ages, there were many heresies and the church decided to take strong against them. During the 12th c. in Europe there was a tendency either to purify (eg. Waldensians) or to provide alternatives (the Cathars) the established church. They were persecuted. Alexander III called upon the lay rulers to combat heresy. In the third Lateran Council -1179-a crusade was announced against the Cathars of France. In 1184 Lucius III decreed that the bishops should take action against heretics. It was decreed that a suspect, once convicted of being a heretic, was to be handed over to the secular for punishment. From the early eleventh century heretics were burned at the staked Innocent III talked about the heresy in terms of treason (1199). He sent first the Cistercians to preach against the Cathars, then the Dominicans, who became the foremost order of the Inqui­sition.

The king of France, Louis VIII issued ordinances to punish the heretics. Emperor Frederick II ordered in 1220 and 1224 to burn the heretics. In 1231 Gregory IX by his decree ‘excommuni – camus’ issued further decrees against the heretics. Under him the inquisition as a church institution was practically comple­ted and the Dominicans were entrusted its charge. In 1252, pope Innocent IV by ‘ad extirpenda’ incorporated all earlier papal statements about the organization of the Inquisition, as well as condoning the use of torture.

Inquisition was made up of several officials;

1. Delegates – they are the examiners who handled preliminary investigations and formalities

2. The socius – a personal adviser and companion to the inqui­sitors.

3. Familiars – they are the guards, prison visitors and secret agents

4. The notaries – they collect evidence and file it efficiently for present and future instances of suspected heresy. Besides the representative of the bishop and a dozen councilors, but the inquisitor is not bound to follow their advice.

The heretics were distinguished

–          Those who denied orthodox beliefs and

–          Those who had additional beliefs

–          Perfected heretics and

–          Imperfect heretic

–          Lightly suspect and

–          Vehemently or violently suspect.

Procedure – The inquisitor or his vicar would arrive suddenly deliver a sermon to the people calling for reports of anyone suspected of heresy, and all those who felt heresy within them­selves to come forth and confess, within a period of grace. This was the “general inquisition”. When the period of grace expired, the “special inquisition” began, with a summons to suspected heretics when were detained until trial.

At the trial the inquisitor had complete control as judge prosecutor and jury. The proceedings were not public, evidences of two witnesses was sufficient – they were unknown – The suspect was not allowed a defense lawyer or, rather lawyers discovered that defence of a suspected heretic might result in their own summons to the holy tribunal. Trials might continue for years, during which the suspect could languish in prison. Torture was a most effective means to secure repentance. Torture of children and old people was relatively light, the pregnant women were exempt until after delivery.

Penance following confession might be light, such as the hearing of a number of masses or, a pilgrimage to specific local or distant shrines, where scourging might be prescribed. Confessed heretics were sometimes forced to wear symbols denoting their fallen state, such as crosses of special design and colour, penitents night instead or in addition be fined or have their property confiscated. Some were sentenced to inquisitorial prison.

Resides loss of liberty heretics suffered civil death and were: disqualified from holding office or making legal contracts. The final group of heretics – unreconciled – had severe punish­ment – death at the stake. The inquisition entrusted this to the secular authorities, since the church could not shed blood.

The success of inquisition varied in different countries. It depended on the political relations with the papacy. It is influence was affected by events such as the Avignon papacy and papal schism. In Spain it was under royal control. In Germany it met with little success. In France it was strong. In Italy also it was string.

Most of the inquisitors were well educated and devoted to what they considered their duty. Some of them produced treatises for the use of other inquisitors.

The Mendicant Orders

Pope Innocent III attempted at the renewal of the monastic life in the church. He ordered to investigate the reason of the spiritual decline of the existing orders. At the same time he encouraged new foundations.  During this period two great mendicant orders were founded basing on the apostolic poverty.


1. Franciscans.

Francis of Assisi was born in 1181, son of Peter Bernard-one and of Pica. He gave up his wealth, renounced his inheritance and settled outside his native town to live a life of prayer and poverty. Gathering a band of followers, arid working part-­time jobs, he served his fellow men by preaching and nursing the sick. His way of life was approved in 1209 by Innocent III Thereafter they were known as the Minor Friars. They wore dark grey dress and went barefoot. As the organization grew it became difficult, to continue a life of poverty. So the order was permitted to own property. However some wanted to continue to live according to the teachings of Francis, insisting upon a life of poverty and a renunciation of endowments. They became known as the Spiritual Franciscans (Fraticelli) because they refused to obey the pope’s order to alter their rule this group was per­secuted and became associated with several other suppressed movements. The brothers who accepted the changes to the order were known as the “Conventuals”.

In 1219 Francis traveled to the Middle East. While he was absent problems arose among the members of his order. In 1223 pope Honorius III confirmed the new rule, which allowed for an elaborate organization. Francis holding to his original ideas laid down his leadership and retired to a hermitage on Monte Alvernia. There he received the stigmata. He composed his Canticle to the Sun, his Admonitions, arid the Testament. He died in 1226.

A society for women, the poor dares, began in 1212 when Claire was converted and commissioned.


The Dominicans

St. Dominic (1170-1221) was the founder of the Dominicans e or the Friars of Preachers. He was a/canon of the cathedral of Osma in Spain. He was sent to reconvert the Albigensians. He soon discovered that the ignorance of both clergy and laity concerning the doctrines and moral teachings of the church was the reason for the spread of heresy. Only bishops and their delegates were permitted to preach and they could not reach the people. To remedy this Dominic founded the Order of Preach­ers specifically dedicated to instructing the people from the pulpit and to teaching in the schools. The Dominican rule is based on the Augustinian and Franciscan rules, every superior was given and urged to use wide powers of dispensation if the church or order could be served suspension of rules. A system of democratic elections, representative assemblies and control by a minister general, bound the order together. Dominic also established an order for nuns.

The Dominican order was recognized in 1220. They wear a white habit and a black cloak (scapular) and so known as the Black Friars. They spread throughout Europe as the “watchdogs of the Lord” (a pun for the Latin name Dominicanus = domini canis) to hunt down heresy and ignorance.

The Dominicans established colleges and seminaries not as only for their members but also for other clergy. They produced leading mediaeval theologians such as Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas. The Franciscans were also busy in education. They established schools and seminaries. They had famous scho­lars like Beneventure (1221-74), Alexander of Hales (1170-1245) and William of Ockam.

Gothic architecture

Gothic architecture appeared in the eleventh century. It was the style of the high Middle Ages. It developed out of the earlier Romanesque pattern. Romanesque buildings were characte­rized by a low massive appearance due to heavy walla round arches and few windows. Gothic architecture emphasized height. Notre Dame, the Sainte Chapelle at Paris, York, Cologne cathedrals are classic examples of gothic churches.

The age of Transition

The end of thirteenth century in Europe was a period tran­sition. This period bridged the gap between medieval and modern times. Numerous elements of medieval civilization waned and dis­appeared, some others survived into later centuries with great struggles. The church as an institution outlived with much diff­iculty because the new forces shaping Europe were dynamic and powerful. The church had adapted itself to the feudal world, and now the new political, social and economic climate threat­ened to sweep away the ecclesiastical along with the feudal structure of the society. Now how this new tendency affected the church and what were the reactions of the church and the results?

Actually the later middle Ages were a period of difficulty for the church. During this period there occurred the crisis of the attack on Pope Boniface VIII, the Avignon papacy, the Great schism and the Renaissance. All these caused a decline in the church.

The fundamental attributes of this period which undermined the established position of the church are:

1. A shift in the economic basis of the society – feudalism based on land and source of wealth. How the revival of commerce and industry brought about a more flexible economic organizat­ion and a return to a money economy. Inevitably the church felt this change just as the secular institutions, for it faced with decline in its land values and a concurrent need for ready cash at the very times its functions were becoming more complex and consequently more costly. As the largest landholder of Europe the church’s economic basis was seriously weakened, and a changeover was necessary.

  1. A gradual secularization of the society

During this period there developed a new secularistic spirit in Europe. There was a tendency to concentrate on the present Ascetic renunciation lost its attraction. Even the mendicant orders lost much of its attraction. The secularistic spirit even penetrated among the clergy and it led to a moral decadence in the next century. Demand for reform in head and members were voiced at the councils. Anticlerical tendencies appeared.

3. The weakening of ecclesiastical monopoly over education and the educated class: During this period the church lost its monopoly of talent. By 1300 the greatest philosophers and theologians were dead. Some of the propositions of St. Thomas was condemned. Thomas did not dominate the centuries after his death. Nominalism of Ockam displaced Thomism. The coming of vernacular languages was a change, which employed a new sprit. Dante’s Divine Comedy was a most perfect literary form of the catholic culture of medieval Europe. Humanism in Renaissance emphasized the lay element in the literary world. As the laity became more educated they became more aware of the ignorance of many of the clergy and more critical of clerical shortcomings.


4. Birth of national sentiment in the midst of general political centralization – 1’eudal regime had been favorable to .the church. The church could control the small units. With the collapse of feudal system, national states emerged with national sentiments. This was felt as a threat to a unified Christendom» a second political characteristic of the age was the trend toward centralization of all authority in the hands of the sovereign. The sovereign should have the full control of over his subjects. Royal army, a royal bureaucracy and new sources of revenue promoted the process. It was a complete reversal of the medieval dispersion of public authority.

The clergy enjoyed wide exemptions such as immunity from civil courts, freedom from certain secular taxes, appeal of cases to Rome from the local bishop’s court etc. The new rulers with the popular support began to control this. This inevitably led to a conflict with the church and the state authorities. Demands of the national state took precedence over claims of a supranational church.

The second council of Lyons (1274)

It was convoked by pope Gregory X in 1274. Thomas Aquinas died en route to Lyons and St. Beneventure died during the sessions of the council. Three matters discussed in the counsel are the situation of the Holy Land, the Greet schism, arid the disciplinary problems.


 Though elaborate plans were laid on the recovery of the holy places, no international enterprise as crusade took place because in the new world of national states it was difficult.

For reasons more political than religious, the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII opened negotiations with the pope for the end of the Greek schism. After much discussion, a formula of agreement was achieved whereby the Greeks acknowledged papal primacy and catholic teaching on the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Byzantine legates at Lyons accepted the agreement and the end of the schism was joyfully proclaimed however, the reunion proved unpopular with the Greek population and was repudiated when emperor Michael died.

Two canons of the council are significant; canon 2sought to prevent delays in papal elections by providing for a secret conclave of the cardinals within ten days after pope’s death. Unless they agreed upon a new pontiff quickly the cardinals’ diet was to be reduced to bread, water and wine. Civil officials of the place of the conclave were charged with the execution of the scheme. It was promulgated against the cardinals’ opposition. So it was soon suspended, and then annulled entirely. It was re-enacted in 1294 by Celestine V.

 The prohibition by Lateran IV on the establishment of new religious orders was renewed. The tremendous success of the Domincans and Franciscans had called into existence a variety of imitators. If also caused a tension between the regulars and seculars. In 1253 the theologians at Paris had even voted to ex­pel all friars from the university and had petitioned the pope to suppress them entirely. The bishops at Lyons decided to take drastic actions against them. The council suppressed all mendi­cant orders except the Dominicans and Franciscans, although a decision was withheld on the Carmelites and the Augustinians pending further examinations. These latter two eventually were permitted to continue, but others either disappeared or changed.




Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

Fr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

              The contemporary period begins with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Peace of Westphalia was a treaty that ended the thirty years war (1618-1648) between the Catholics and the Protestants. The war started with the election of the catholic Jesuit educated Ferdinand II as the emperor and king of Bohemia. The Protestants appealed to the emperor for protection and a guarantee of their religious liberties. Receiving no satisfaction they revolted against the king. In 1618 they (Bohemian rebels) declared Ferdinand deposed and elected a Protestant Frederick as their king. This caused a conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants all over Germany.  Later the Protestants in Denmark and Sweden also became involved in this war.

            In the beginning the Catholics were successful, later the Protestants with the support of France won. After thirty years of war peace was settled on 24 October 1648. As a result of this treaty a principle “cujus regio ejus religio” was adapted. The treaty also ratified the confiscation of ecclesiastical property. It provided certain absurd religious arrangements, whereby some dioceses were to be held alternately by Catholics and Protestants.  Pope Innocent X (1649 55) protested vehemently against this treaty.

            Peace of Westphalia marked the end of a period of history and the beginning of a new, whereby the Catholic Church became one of the several Christian Churches. Internal politics were now carried on without reference to Rome. Religion had become a private affair and was driven out of political and social life. It led to the process of secularization, the characteristic of modern history.

In the years following the treaty of Westphalia, the position of papacy was an extremely difficult one.  The popes of this period witnessed a definite decline in the political prestige and ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Curia.  The catholic rulers of Europe exerted powerful influence in the election of popes. They often humiliated the popes by exerting their superior political power.  State absolutism opposed the freedom and privileges of the church.

1. Decline of the Church and the Absolute State.

            The decline of the Church and the growth of the absolute state power are the two characteristics of the 17th and 18th centuries. The rulers in the catholic countries looked upon religion as a political concern. They felt that it was their right to control the church through the power of appointing members of the hierarchy and binding them closely to themselves. The interference of the popes in the domestic affairs of the state was considered as an illegitimate foreign intrusion. The popes of this period were generally good, but they granted concessions to make peace between Rome and the catholic kings.

Gallicanism was a typical example of the absolute power of the state. It means that the king has absolute power in his state to control the church. It came to a most complete expression in France in the 17th century but it was also realized in one way or another in almost every catholic country

            Gallicanism as a programme adopted whatever measures increased the independence of the national church and lessened the papal authority in the country.  These measures could be to increase the authority of bishops -Episcopal Gallicanism –which found its justification in the council of Constance (1414- 17) and Basel (1431) or to increase the royal power over the national church –Royal Gallicanism. As an attitude Gallicanism was the religious manifestation of nationalism. It was a tendency to ignore Rome and to develop a peculiarly “national church”. As a doctrine Gallicanism held that the pope was subject to a general council and his authority over the church in foreign countries is limited.

History of Gallicanism

In the beginning of the seventeenth century several French theologians and canonists began to decrease the importance of the pope. They refused to consider the pope a universal bishop and demanded superiority of the general council over the pope and maintained that the council could be convened even without the pope. They concluded that the pope was in no way omnipotent and that natural law and even the civil law of Christian nations placed limits upon his authority. Yet the French theologians unanimously acknowledged the true primacy of the pope, his universal authority and his position as the center of the unity of Christians.

The claims of political gallicanism had been formulated in 1594 by Pierre Pithou, a lawyer of the French parliament. According to him the king had the right to rule over his clergy and to convoke national councils. The pope could not interfere in the affairs of the church without the permission of the king. He could not excommunicate the king or his official nor could he absolve the subjects from obedience to the king. Another author Pierre de Marca limited papal infallibility to those matters which received the consent of the church. He defended the right of the king to censure ecclesiastics in his country

Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of France (1624) advanced this theory. He wanted to suppress episcopal gallicanism and to strengthen royal gallicanism. He promised the king that he would make him an absolute ruler. His aim was to make French church into a patriarchate with himself as its head. But he died before it was taken place (1642).

Gallicanism under Louis XIV (1643-1715 ruler 1660 1715)

A revival of gallican ideas can be perceived from the beginning of rule of Louis XIV.  He believed that he was a divinely instituted ruler over the church and the state. Hence he admitted no limitations on his power. In 1661 the Flemish Jesuit Coret challenged his authority and defended divinely instituted infallibility of the pope. Louis branded this theory as the new heresy of the Jesuits.

            In the following years there occurred certain events that favoured gallicanism and created an antipapal feeling in France.

1. The violent confrontation between the Corsican guards and the French soldiers. The confrontation took place on 20 August 1662 near the French embassy in Rome. Louis  then  expelled the papal nuncio and declared Avignon and Venesian County annexed to France. He even threatened to attack Italy. Pope Alexander VII (1655 1667) apologized and punished the guards and erected a monument to commemorate the event. This event though apparently had no doctrinal significance had been made use of by Louis to create antipapal feeling in France.

2. The right of regalia. It was the right the French king enjoyed during the vacancy of a diocese to receive its revenues (temporal) and to appoint benefices (candidates). In France this had been limited to a few dioceses and Lyons 11 (1274) had forbidden further extension. On 10 February 1673 Louis declared that it was an inherent and inalienable right of the king and he extended it over all dioceses of France. 118/120 bishops supported the king. Pope Innocent XI (1676-89) condemned it.

In 1682 a general assembly of the clergy was convoked to settle the question. It recognized the right of the king to extend the right of regalia to all dioceses and suggested that the candidates presented by the king should be canonically installed. This assembly approved the four Gallican Articles formulated by Bossuet, bishop of Meaux:

1) The church and the pope have no power over the temporal rulers. They cannot depose the king nor release the subjects from obedience to the king.

2) The exercise of papal power is limited by the customs and privileges of the gallican church.

3) The papal power is limited by a general council.

4) The pope has the chief voice in deciding the questions of faith but he needs the consent of the whole church.

The king ordered that these articles be taught in all seminaries and formally subscribed to by everyone taking a degree in theology. Pope Innocent XI condemned the assembly and the articles. He refused to confirm the appointment as bishop anyone who attended the assembly. Louis insisted on nominating only those who participated the assembly. Therefore by 1687 there were some thirty sees vacant.

3. The Embassy dispute. The embassies in Rome claimed the right of asylum not only to the embassies themselves but also for a large district surrounding the buildings. This created difficulties for the police authorities. Pope Innocent XI limited this right to the embassy and its gardens. All European countries except France conformed. The pope excommunicated those who acted contrary to the decree. In spite of having been excommunicated, the new French Ambassador Marquis de Lavardin entered Rome and had the sacraments administered to himself at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi on 24 December 1687. As a result the church was interdicted. At the beginning of January 1688 Innocent XI secretly informed Louis that he and his ministers had been excommunicated. The king immediately took several countermeasures. He occupied Avignon and Venesian County and appealed to a general council. He jailed the papal nuncio and forbade the bishops any and all correspondence with Rome. During the next pontificate (Alexander VIII (1689-91) Louis returned the papal territories and consented to the restriction of the right of asylum due to the popular demand.

In 1693 a Louis withdrew his edict compelling the acceptance of the four gallican articles. In return pope Innocent X11 (1691-1700) confirmed the king’s nominees. All bishops chosen after 1682 signed a retraction: “we profess and declare that we are extremely grieved at what happened in the assembly of 1682 which is so displeasing to your Holiness and your predecessors. Hence we hold and affirm that all declarations issued by the assembly against the power of the church and the authority of the pope are herewith rescinded.” The conflict thus ended and the danger of a French schism vanished. But Gallicanism continued until the 19th century and it was adopted by other countries especially Holland, Germany, Austria and Tuscany. It not only weakened the papacy but led to a too great dependence of the church on the absolute state.

Heretical Movements.

In the following years after the Peace of Westphalia it was France that was the principal cause of Church’s anxiety. After the condemnation of Lutherinism in 1520, small groups of Protestants began to form in various towns.  During the time of Henry 11 (1547-59) Calvinism began to establish in France. Henry II was killed and in the struggle of the different factions to control the regency the religious division received a new importance. For forty years there was the conflict between the Catholics and the Calvinists. It is called wars of religion (1562-1598). During this period many Catholics were massacred. Catholic churches were sacked and destroyed (about 20.000). The Catholics rose against this. Henry 111 (1574-1589) was stabbed by a mad Dominican. His successor Henry IV (1589-1610) submitted to the church. There now began in France a revival of catholic life in all its forms.

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) founded a new Congregation of the Visitation. He wrote the famous book “Introduction to the devout life” and “treatise on the love of god”, one of the masterpieces of mystical theology.  These books served for the general revival of the life of prayer. The Order of Visitation (cofounder was Jane Francis de Chantal) was originally conceived as a partially active congregation without complete claustration, but in 1618, impelled by the archbishop of Lyon, it had to change into a contemplative order with ceremonious public vows. They then took over educational tasks.

            During this period there were attempts to reform the life of the clergy. Cardinal de Berulle founded the French Oratory. Two other orders  -Eudists, founded by  St. John Eudes (1611-80), the company of St. Sulpice, founded by Jean Jacques Olier- were also founded to supply well instructed and well informed parochial clergy.

            One of the greatest organizers of works of charity, who ever lived, was St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660). He with St. Louise de Marillac founded sisters of Charity and the order of Lazarists

In those years another benevolent society -Company of the Blessed Sacrament -was founded.  Though it included priests and bishops among its members, it was under lay direction. It was the generosity of the member of this league that made possible many of the ventures of St. Vincent and the formation of Foreign Missions in 1663.

The spiritual revival of France was checked by certain heretical movements. The first among them was Jansenism.

1 Jansenism

Jansenism was a pernicious movement that disturbed the religio-ecclesiastical life of France in the 17th century. It tried to infiltrate Calvinistic thought into catholic theology and piety. It held the doctrine of predestination. It killed the prayer to the saints, practice of frequent communion etc.

Its cause was Cornelius Jansen, professor of theology at the university of Louvain and later bishop of Ypres. His book “Augustinus” seu doctrina  Augustini de humanae naturae sanitate aegretudine, medicina adversus Pelagianos et Massilienses” repeated the opinions of Michael Baius (+1589). Baius asserted that the preternatural and supernatural gifts with which Adam was endowed at creation were natural to him and therefore that original sin was more than a deprivation, it was a disorderly act which corrupted the human nature and renders it incapable of doing good.  For him free will is nothing but concupiscence (desire for worldly things). In his fallen state man can do nothing but sin. Pope Pius V (1566-1572) condemned these opinions by “Ex omnibus affectionibus” on 1 October 1567.

The book Augustinus was widely spread in Holland and France. In summer 1621 Jansen met Jean Ambrose Duvergier de Hauranne, a Frenchman, at the college of Saint Pulcherie in Louvain. Hauranne became the abbot of St. Cyran and wanted to reform caitholic life in the sense of “Augustinus”. Other leaders who supported Jansen was Antoine Arnauld (+1649), priest and theologian, the Cistercian nuns of Port-Royal of Paris where Antoine was confessor and his sister Angelique was abbess. Port-Royal was founded in 1204 by the wife of a soldier of the fourth crusade to obtain from heaven the safe return of her husband in the valley of Chevreuse. It was not enclosed, the members were free to come and go out. Mother Angelique was a daughter of a rich man who had eight daughters. Angelique (former name -Jacquiline) became coadjutrix of Port-Royal at the age of eight and her sister at the age of six. The phrase applied to these nuns is: “angelic in appearance but moved with pride of Lucifer”.

            The principal opponents of Jansenism were the Jesuits. Antoine Arnauld wrote a book De la frequente communion (1643) in which he severely criticized the practice of frequent communion as recommended by the Jesuits. He laid down very strict conditions for absolution and reception of communion. Sacrament of Penance is valid only with perfect contrition. Absolution must be withheld until the penance is performed. Holy Communion should be received only a few times a lifetime. No one is worthy to receive it. Respectful abstention from communion honours Christ more than frequent reception. The abbot of St. Cyran wrote to a nun who was saddened by not receiving communion during her illness: “You will soon understand that you do more for yourself by not going to Holy Communion than by going”.

Eighty-eight bishops urged by St. Vincent de Paul requested the pope to examine the book Augustinus. On 31 May 1653 Innocent X by his bull “cum occasione” condemned five propositions as heretical.

1. Some of the commandments of God cannot be observed by the just because they do not have the necessary grace to do so.

2. In the present state of corrupted nature man cannot resist the action of interior grace

3. Merit or demerit presupposes freedom from physical constraint not freedom from interior necessity.

4. The semipelagians erred when they taught that human will can resist or respond to grace.

5. It is semipelagian error to say that Christ died for all men.

As authentic Christians the Jansenists could not openly oppose the condemnation. They denied that the propositions were the teaching of Jansen. They distinguished between “questio juris and questio facti”. The church is infallible when she decides a matter of faith (whether a doctrine is heretical or not), but she is not infallible when she pronounces on a mere fact that has not been revealed (whether an author ever held this opinion or not or whether it is certain that a theologian taught this or that doctrine). In the latter case she cannot demand interior consent, but only a reverential or respectful silence.

Pope Alexander VII declared in 1656 that the five propositions had been taken from Jansen’s work and had been condemned in the sense in which the author had used them. Then the French bishops drew up a formula of faith to be signed by those who had refused to submit. Then the Jansenists claimed that only the pope had the right to exact such subscription. Therefore the pope issued a new constitution in 1664 with a similar formula. Louis XIV for political reasons supported the pope and opposed the Jansenists. But in spite of these measures many refused to sign it. The nuns of Port-Royal were debarred from receiving sacraments and in 1664 the archbishop of Paris placed their convent under interdict.

The four bishops of Alet, Angers, Beauvais and Pamiers first refused to sign the papal formula on the grounds that the pope is not infallible in the matters of fact. They signed a much moderated formula. When the king and the pope decided to take action against them nineteen more declared publicly that they agreed with the four bishops. The crisis was solved by a compromise known as the Clementine Peace in 1670. The Jansenist bishops agreed to sign the formula.

The Clementine peace lasted thirty years (1670-1700). During this period Jansenism spread among the diocesan clergy and it can be considered an underground movement in the French Church. Many held Jansen’s teaching to be true. Once again Port-Royal became fashionable. Many were influenced by the men and women of Port-Royal who were described as the angels on earth, saints descended from heaven.

In the beginning of the 18th century the Jansenist controversy was revived and again disturbed the French church for almost thirty years. In 1701 a new pamphlet -case of conscience -appeared. The question was whether absolution could be given to a penitent who maintained a respectful silence on the matter of Jansen’s teaching and signed the Papal formulary with the mental reservation that the five propositions were not to be found in Jansen. This became the subject of discussion among the professors of Sorbonne. Pope Clement XI (1700-1721) condemned it in 1703. At the request of Louis XIV he formally condemned the attitude of respectful silence by the bull Vineam Domini of 15 July 1705. In it he declared that a respectful silence was not enough but that the five sentences of Jansen had to be abjured with mouth and heart. However the bull did not have the desired effect. The clergy in their general assembly in 1705 declared that the constitutions of popes oblige the universal church only when the bishops give their assent. The pope’s disapproval of this declaration passed unnoticed. Since the nuns of Port-Royal refused to accept the bull  the convent was again placed under interdict in 1707. In 1709 the government suppressed the community and the building was demolished (1710-12).

            Perhaps the papal decree might have ended the jansenist trouble. But meanwhile a learned Oratorian Paschasius Quesnel (1719) published a book “reflexiones morales sur le Nouveau Testament”- moral reflections on the NT in revised edition in 1693. It met with an enthusiastic reception, but was condemned by pope Clement X1 in 1708. It insinuated Jansenism into a set of pious reflections made on each verse of the NT. Cardinal Louis Antoine de Noailles, archbishop of Paris, who as bishop of Chalons-sur Marne, had approved and recommended the book in 1695, now had to withdraw the approval

At the request of the king, pope Clement XI examined the book and issued the bull Unigenitus on 8 September 1713, in which he condemned 101 propositions taken from the Reflexiones. Four French bishops refused to accept the bull. Noailles appealed to a future pope better informed and to a general council. The universities of Paris, Nantes and Reims joined him. France was divided into two camps -the acceptants and the appellants. By the bull Pastoralis officii of 28 August 1718 the pope excommunicated the appellants. But the appellants appealed against the new bull and declared the ex­communication null and void. Finally cardinal Noailles in October 1728 declared his unconditional acceptance of the bull. Many followed his example. With this submission Jansenism as an organized movement came to an end. But Jansenism lived on in individuals and it harassed the church throughout the 18th century. It was one of the factors that led to the suppression of the Society of Jesus.

At this point the brilliant highly talented mathematician, philosopher and apologist, Blaise Pascal (+1662) – his sister was a nun in Port-Royal- wrote the letters provinciales (1656-57) against the Jesuits. It was placed on the index in 1657 and was forbidden in France by a royal decree of 1660, but the effect of the work was damaging and lasting. The Jesuits were discredited in France and in all Europe.

The magistrates of the parliament or courts interfered in the affairs of the church. In 1733 for example when certain priests in the diocese of Orleans tried to make the parishioners subscribe to the bull Unigenitus, the parliament called their conduct abusive and requested their bishop to restrain them. The most important quarrel was over the giving of last sacrament to those who refused to accept Unigenitus. Some priests refused to do so, and the parliament took legal action against them. Archbishop Christopher de Beaumont was ordered to appear before the parliament of Paris because he refused to revoke the regulation requiring subscription to unigenitus for receiving the last sacraments. The archbishop’s temporal possessions were confiscated, he was exiled from Paris and priests were forbidden to refuse the last sacraments to recalcitrant. A compromise was reached in 1756 when Pope Benedict XIV required obedience to Unigenitus but stated that the last sacraments need not be denied to any but notorious public sinners.

A small group of jansenists broke away from the church and set up a schismatic group still in existence, the Old Catholics of Holland. In 18th century it did much harm to the Church in France. It introduced into catholic circles a strong puritan note which robbed Catholicism of its richness and its full development.

            Jansenism was based on a certain doctrine of justification that proposed rigorous views of human nature and the role of grace in man’s salvation. Jansenists were austere in their morality and they considered any one opposed to them as corrupted enemies of God. Their aim was to purify the Church of all accretions since the time of the primitive Fathers.


Quietism was another heretical movement within the church in France in the 17th century. It also exaggerated and distorted the doctrine of St. Augustine. Jansenism bowed man to the ground before a dreadful God who according to His whim, called some and rejected others. Jansenist morality clouded over and dried up the heart, Quietism reached conclusions much less pessimistic; as they deviated in favour of softness as opposed to the harshness of Port­-Royal. It was a natural but extreme reaction to the stress laid on the activity and the role of the will by the Jesuits and the Vincentians.

This movement began in Rome where a Spanish priest Michael Molinos (1628-1696) had for sometime been spiritual director of a group. Molinos was in Rome as the procurator in the beatification cause of Jeronimo Simon. He was highly regarded there. Even pope Innocent XI thought well of him. In 1675 he published a book called “A spiritual guide” in Spanish and Italian. It was also translated into Latin, French and German. In 1685 he was arrested by the Inquisition and two years later Innocent XI condemned 68 propositions from his book.

The spirituality of Quietism culminated in two fundamental themes: absolute passivity and contemplation in complete spiritual tranquility. The soul must aim at mystic death, annihilation in God; allowing God to substitute Himself for the Ego and to dominate the whole being. The soul should have no desire, should make no act of love. In fact every act is displeasing to God because it interrupts the state of passive resignation. Devotion itself is harmful if it is addressed to the visible e.g. the humanity of the Man-­Christ, the Blessed Virgin or the saints. Thus one way only was offered to the mystical soul: the inward way. The purgative way was no longer necessary: away with asceticism.

Molinos taught that man must annihilate his will and all his powers so that God is perfectly free to act in the soul. The aim of spiritual life consists in such passivity of the soul that it no longer desires salvation, virtue of perfection, but rests in God without any activity or volition of its own. The perfect state of soul is one of complete passivity. For him it is wrong to resist temptation for this is a positive act of will. In the state of annihilation the soul no longer sins. Vocal prayers, mortification and struggle against temptation are not necessary for a soul that has achieved such passivity.

            After a long trial Molinos was sentenced to imprisonment for life. He accepted it humbly and silently. He passed the last nine years of life, until 1696, in prison. At this time a widow Madame Guyon (1648-1717) and her spiritual director Fr. Lacombe (1643-1712) made quietism an important movement in France. Guyon was somewhat unbalanced and claimed to have visions like St. Therese of Avila, when she was five years old and aspired to martyrdom. She said that ‘with a large needle’ she had sewn on her flesh a piece of paper bearing the name of Jesus!  She was physically and psychologically abnormal. She married a man 22 years senior to her. On the day after the wedding she declared amidst tears that marriage was to her a hateful sacrifice and that she would rather have been a nun. She lived in a mystical delight which made her forget her real life. She claimed that the Child Jesus had placed on her finger the visible ring of mystical marriage. She together with Lacombe moved from place to place and spread the quietist ideas and attracted considerable attention. She wrote a treatise called Moyen court et tres facile de faire oraison -easy and short ways for prayer. Bishops asked her to leave their dioceses. Finally the archbishop of Paris had her arrested in 1686. Lacombe was also imprisoned for alleged immorality and errors. He died insane.

Charges against Guyon’s moral conduct were never proved. She said that she would abandon her ideas as soon as they were declared false. So there seemed no reason to fear her orthodoxy. After her release, she met Fenelon, the future archbishop of Cambrai who regarded her as a holy woman. When the old rumours about her character and doctrine circulated again, the bishops decided to examine the case more thoroughly. She was arrested. Bossuet, bishop of Noailles studied the case, and drew up 34 articles in which her errors were condemned. Fenelon also signed it.

Quietism did not end when Guyon accepted the condemnation of 1690 because Fenelon and Bossuet continued the dispute. In 1699 pope Innocent XII ended the dispute by condemning 23 propositions taken from Fenelon’s writings. Fenelon submitted with his famous statement: “Please God, it may even be said of us that a pastor ought to bear in mind that he must be more docile than the least of his sheep”. Fenelon read his own condemnation from the pulpit. This put an end to quietism in France, but it damaged the contemplative life.

Decline of the Church and Secularism

In 17th and 18th.centuries the Church lost the initiative in cultural and intellectual life. And it was taken by people who styled themselves as scientists, artists or economists rather than as christians. As a result of this, the western culture was controlled by those who were not directly influential by the church. This phenomenon is labeled secularism. By this, various functions formerly performed by the church were turned over to worldly institutions.

During this period, though there were good popes, they were not able to give the church a forceful leadership. The most capable men of the age were civilians. Their aim was to make the church impotent in everything except the matter of private devotion. As a result of this, religion was pushed more and more out of man’s life, out of his social and political life, out of cultural affairs, out of art and literature and finally out of man’s very consciousness except for stated hours of worship each week. Now we shall study some of these secularizing movements. France was the centre of all these movements. From there it spread to other countries.

The Enlightenment

Different terminology: Lumieres (French)

Illuminarismo (Italian)

Aufklarung (German)

The Enlightenment is a way of thinking and acting that ignores and even denies the existence of the supernatural order, revolts against all kinds of dogma, and basing itself exclusively on experience and reason, elaborates a naturalistic and rationalistic conception of the world and life (Villoslada).

Here reason was given absolute sovereignty. Nature takes the place of God and physical laws replace providence. Faith was subverted in the revealed religion. But it had also some positive and beneficial results. It opposed the superstitions and unreasonable incredulity. It exerted great influence on education. It also induced the governments to exercise tolerance towards various religions. It fostered a new spirit of enquiry and criticism which brought wonders in various positive sciences. It created humanitarian interests which resulted in greater material wellbeing.

This movement originated in England in the 17th century. Then it passed to France and Germany. The English philosopher Francis Bacon (+1626) was the one who prepared the way for this movement. He completely divorced reason from revelation, faith from knowledge. He opposed scholasticism. For him the kingdom of man (earthly happiness) has no bond with a supreme being.

The other English men of Enlightenment were:

            Lord Herbert of Cherbury (+1648)

            John Locke (1630-1704)

            Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

            David Hume (+1776)

            In France the enlightenment did greater harm. Ferdinand Brunetiere says “the 18th century became the most unchristian and the least French of any century in France’s history. In France the most powerful writer was Pierre Bayle (1647-1706). For him not only revealed religion but even natural religion is incompatible with reason. He wrote a book: the historical and critical Dictionary (1695-97).

The chief representative of this movement in France was Voltaire (1694-1778). As a gifted writer and superficial thinker he ridiculed all that is noble and sublime. He wanted to destroy all positive religions especially catholic church. His bitterness towards the church was expressed in his words: “crush the infamous”.

Rousseau (1712-1778) was less hostile towards religion. He became catholic in 1728 and remained so until 1754. According to him true religion consists in the love of good and beautiful and contains only three dogmas: l. existence of God, 2. liberty, 3. immortality. In his book on Social contract he advocated the idea of democracy and sovereignty of the people.

In France the representatives of Enlightenment were called Encyclopedists. Between 1751 to 1780 an encyclopedia was published in France in 28 volumes plus 7 supplementary volumes. Most of the contributors were the representatives of enlightenment.

The Germans were attracted by the enlightenment towards the end of the 17th century. Their leader was Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716). Other leaders in Germany were Christian Wolf (1679-1754), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) etc. The German enlightenment reached its zenith during the reign of Frederick II. They published a book Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek (1765-1805) in 106 volumes. It was followed by many pernicious books. Some of the authors denied trinity and divinity of Christ eg. Edemann(+1767) Reimarus (+1788)  presented Moses and Christ as a pair of imposters.

The leading writers of the classical period of German national literature were Lessing (+1781), Herden (+1803), Weiland (+1813), Schiller (+1805) and Goethe (+1832). These people professed a monistic idealistic philosophy, a religion of humanity, which rejected Christianity as revelation and esteemed it only for its esthetic value.

The effects of the enlightenment

1. The new spirit of enquiry and criticism which brought wonders in the various positive sciences and gave a new impetus to the spread and renewal of education at all levels.

2. Its humanitarian interests resulted in greater material wellbeing: great improvement in such matters as roads, new buildings, commerce etc.

3. Some of the pioneers were men of sincere faith, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Descartes, La Place (all catholics), Newton and Leibniz (Protestants). Newton believed that his scientific discoveries were communicated to him by the Holy Spirit.

It seems that the Church was not aware of the danger of this movement. The clergy neglected their pastoral duty. There were atheists and deists among the French clergy. The irreligious writings mounted and had penetrated every level of society.

The enlightenment differed slightly from country to country, but essentially it was the same everywhere. It was antireligious; it secularized morality by separating it from a personal God and from any religion. The church had no clever men to defend the religion. Therefore by the end of the 18th century there was a tendency to identify the church with ignorant peasants and the clerical class used to exploit them and to keep them subservient to an absolute monarch. Then the thinking people rebelled against established authority in the Church.


The philosophers, though followed different paths, formed a kind of friendly society within which they maintained constant intercourse, exchanging visits and carrying on a vast correspondence. There was thus a plentiful and fruitful encounter of ideas. Europe was the home of great minds determined to be “free”

As to the origin of freemasonry it derives from the journeymen builders who in the eleventh and twelfth centuries traveled from city to city, from site to site, in return for which popes and princes granted them certain privileges.  At that period and until the sixteenth century it was a religious corporation whose members bound themselves to be faithful to God and the church.  Virtually inactive everywhere, it took a new lease of life in England after the Great Fire of London in 1666, when the city had to be rebuilt. In London in 1717 a society was organized by stone masons who had been employed in the construction of St. Paul’s and other buildings. They accepted as members others who were not stone masons by trade. James Anderson, and Anglican clergyman drew up the constitution of the society in 1723, in which it was stated that the purpose was to foster humanity and brotherhood. It spread rapidly and was soon established in many cities -Madrid 1728, Paris 1732, Florence 1733, Lisbon, Hague, Rome 1735, Hamburg 1737, Berlin 1740, Vienna 1742. Their houses were known as lodges.

            The success of this movement was remarkable. Its members were recruited from the rich, the ruling classes and the enlightened circles. It was veiled in secrecy and rituals. Absolute secrecy was imposed on the members and various oaths were required of them. It has also a lure of a certain philosophical ideal, a certain spiritual aspiration and even a degree of mysticism.

            The question ‘whether freemasonry was antichristian’ is disputed. One thing is true that a large number of ecclesiastics were the members of it and they enjoyed the privilege of admission without inquiry as to their respectability, since their profession guaranteed their character. Priests, bishops and monks were its members. Towards the year 1789 a quarter of French freemasons were churchmen; and there is no reason to think that all of them were bad catholics. Great many of them saw no incompatibility between their faith and their Masonic membership. They even regarded freemasonry as a weapon to be employed in the service of religion.

The Jesuits were the first to feel uneasy about the Freemasonry Prompted by them the secular authority itself was hostile from time to time. Some bishops gave public approval to the action of parish priests who refused the sacrament or burial in consecrated ground to notorious freemasons. In 1738 Clement XII condemned freemasonry by his ball In eminenti, and thirteen years later Benedict XIV (1751) renewed it by his bull Providas Romanorum. This condemnation proved almost ineffective, the publication of the bull was prevented in France, no priest resigned from the society. Even in Rome the masons met almost without concealment.

Was freemasonry inimical to christianity? Strictly speaking no – at any rate not to any great extent.  there was no violent attack upon the dogmas of the church. They had pious declarations which reveal a strong attachment to the Mass as well as to Our Lady and the saints. A closer look at Masonic religion shows that it had nothing whatever to do with dogma or with an ecclesiastical established order. The rules drawn up by Anderson in the early days are quite explicit on this point: “Each Person may retain his personal beliefs, provided always he observes the precepts of the religion upon which all men are agreed and which enjoin him to be good, sincere, modest and honourable, no matter to what religious denomination he may belong”. So Masonic religion is clearly natural religion, purged of the dogmas, rites and symbols of christianity. Based on a form of Deism which recognizes the existence of a Great Architect, it allows Him no right of intervention in the spiritual and moral life and identifies His activity with that of reason. It is therefore fundamentally the doctrine of the philosophers. Consequently the church condemned it rightfully and dutifully.


            Febronianism is a movement in Germany which sponsored episcopalism, which is the theory that in the government of the church the supreme authority resides in the body of bishops. After the council of Trent the authority in the church was more centralized Ad Limina visits were made obligatory every five years, faculties reserved by bishops to dispense in cases reserved to the pope, had to be renewed every five years. The German bishops were not pleased with such arrangements. Febronianism resulted from the exploitation of these grievances.

Justinus Febronius was the pseudonym of John Nicholas von Hontheim (1701-1790), a brilliant prelate who had studied under Van Espen at the University of Louvain, then at the German college in Rome, and had finally been appointed coadjutor bishop of Trier. In 1763 he published a book de statu ecclesiae et legitima. potestate Romani pontificis  under the pseudonym Justinus Febronius. It was Rousseau’s Social Contract  applied to the church. According to Febronius, authority within the church belongs primarily to the community of the faithful (ecclesia) which possessed the power of the keys conferred by Christ. The pope has no right of jurisdiction, but only a primacy of honour.The bishops are the delegates of the community. The pope was simply the first among the equals and had no primacy. If the church wished it could designate this position to any other bishop, for Roman primacy was simply an administrative office conferred by the church on the pope. He denied papal infallibility. Primacy in the church rests with a general council and the pope is its administrative agent whose powers are limited by its decrees. The abuse of papal powers should be checked by a general council, by national synods and by the secular princes in each country. Febronius considered that the termination of papal abuses would restore Christianity to its original purity and enable dissenters to return to the bosom of the church. His book was translated into French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

In 1764 pope Clement XIII condemned the book and placed it on the Index, but many bishops refused to publish the prohibition. At the earnest request of Pius VI and the insistence of his archbishop, Febronius agreed to publish a retraction of his theories, perhaps more formal than sincere; and he ended his long life at peace with the church.

Punctuation of Ems

In spite of the condemnation, Febronius’ ideas continued to prosper. The bishops of Cologne, Mainz and Trier adopted them and tried to put them into effect. They took a stand publicly against usurpations on their jurisdiction by the Roman curia. In 1786 they issued twenty three decrees known as the punctuation of Ems in which they made strong demands for Episcopal ‘rights’ against Rome.

1. All exemptions from Episcopal authority enjoyed by convents and monasteries be suppressed.

2. Faculties granted to the bishops every five years be granted in perpetuum.

3. The Episcopal permission be required before papal acts were published in a diocese.

4. The Episcopal oath of office be replaced by a new one.

5. Papal primacy was based on the False Decretals. It was a forgery produced in the diocese of Rheims between 845 and 853 to provide law which could protect the rights of the bishops. In order to strengthen the argument, the authors invoked the principle of supremacy of the pope. Their intention was not to aid the papacy, but in fact it was the papacy which ultimately benefited most. The first pope who made use of it was Nicholas 1 (858-869).

6. They should no longer apply to the Holy See without the royal placet.

7. The pallium and annate taxes (first year’s revenue of See paid to the pope) would no longer be paid to the Curia. The pope and the nuncio Pacca stood firm. The outbreak of French Revolution and the invasion of Germany relegated everything else into the background.


In the second half of the 18th century there occurred a religious revolution, a systematic overthrow of all that the church believed inviolable. The reason was that the church was in a deteriorated situation which forced the state to intervene. In this period we find a tendency “enlightened despotism” that means the sovereigns would reform the church without reference to the pope. Josephism was a typical example of it.

              Maria Theresa (1740- 1780) was the mother of Joseph II. She was a prudent and pious woman and devotedly attached to the church. She began a series of reforms to improve the administration of her domains and promote the good of souls. These reforms were in harmony with the antireligious spirit of the age. She had forbidden the founding of new congregations, monasteries and convents or increasing of church property. Religious profession could not be made before the 24th year. The clergy were no longer to enjoy immunity from taxation. Papal enactments could not be published without the placet of the government. The number of holidays was reduced to 24 and the government assumed the censorship of the books, Higher studies were removed from the control of the clergy (Jesuits) and the universities were reorganized (1752) under the direction of the imperial physician Gerhard Van Swieten, a Dutch Jansenist. Since she was greatly loved by her people, her innovations were put into effect without much difficulty.

Joseph 11 (1780 1790)

Joseph dreamt of a unified strong Austrian state. He regarded the church as a mere cog in the state machine. He wanted to emancipate it from Rome and subject it to him. Thus he wanted to create a national church. He interfered in the church affairs fanatically. After 1781 he issued decrees in rapid succession. He fixed the umber of the candles at High Mass, regulated the use of incense, abolished a number of holidays, rearranged the parishes and dioceses in geometric fashion, closed hundreds of convents and monasteries (600) he  considered useless. He said: ‘being useless to the world they cannot please to God’.  One mass could be said daily in each church; the breviary was censored, the rosary was forbidden, and he amalgamated the confraternities.  He set up a commission which reorganized the seminaries (5 general seminaries) and ordered Mass to be said in German. Because of his interference in liturgical matters, Frederick of Prussia called him “the archsacristan of the holy Roman Empire”.

            Though Joseph made all these reforms he was not anti-catholic. The only thing he wanted to do was to remove certain things out of the domain of religion which never belonged to it. On certain occasions Joseph behaved as a good servant of the church. For example on one occasion he appointed 1500 carefully chosen priests to found parishes where there were none. He also struggled against superstitious practices and the sale of indulgences. He forbade the use of coffins which were to be replaced by funeral bags!

Cardinal of Vienna, Primate of Hungry etc. protested against these reforms vigourously. Pius VI went in person to Vienna in 1782 to check Joseph’s zeal for reform. But it was in vain. Joseph’s return visit in the following year was just as barren of results. It was only to obtain more concessions from the pope in the matter of episcopal appointment. Vigourous protests came also from the Belgian episcopacy. At the end of his life (20 Feb 1790) Joseph was forced to see the total failure of all his reform plans. He composed a melancholy epitaph for his tomb: “here lies a prince whose intentions were pure, but who had the misfortune to see all his projects fail”.

            Josephism was copied by some other rulers especially Leopold II of Tuscany, Joseph’s brother. Bishop Scipio Ricci of Pistoia cooperated with him. He convoked a synod at Pistoia in September 1786 and adopted a number of reform measures; four gallican articles were adopted, Quesnel’s moral reflexions were recommended. Devotion to Sacred Heart,  mass stipend etc were renounced. It was decided to banish all religious orders except one to be established after the model of Port- Royal.

            All other bishops except Ricci rejected the reform measures. They held a synod at Florence in April-May 1787. Leopold dissolved it. People were against the reforms, they attacked bishop Ricci, who resigned in 1791. Pope Pius VI condemned 85 propositions of Synod of Pistoia by the bull Auctorem fidei on 28 August 1794. After some years of refusal Ricci finally submitted in 1805. He retired and lived as a private person till his death in 1810.

The Suppression of the Society of Jesus (1773-1814)

            The suppression of the Society of Jesus shows how feeble the papacy had become under the pressure of the state power. The Jesuits had been rendering most valuable services to the Church in all fields since its origin in 1540. By the middle of the eighteenth century they had about 23,000 members, 800 houses, 700 colleges and 300 missions. It had become the most important and influential religious order in the church. They had also many enemies. The Gallicans and the Jansenists considered them as their chief enemy. Many of other religious orders were jealous of their greater power and influence in varlious fields. Many bishops especially in Spain and Portugal disliked them. Some of the enlightened thinkers like Voltaire considered the suppression of the Society the necessary first step toward destroying the effectiveness of the Church. Unfortunately the papacy was occupied by weak men at this time and eventually they agreed to suppress the society “for the sake of peace within church”.

The first blow against the Jesuits fell in Portugal.  The weak and immoral king Joseph Emmanuel (1750-1773) was completely under the influence of the ambitious and irreligious prime minister Marquis de Pombal. Pombal considered the Jesuits the cause of all ills in Portugal. An incident in the South American Jesuit states gave him an opportunity to act against them. As a result of a border treaty between Spain and Portugal 30,000 christian Indiana were forced to migrate in Paraguay, which Portugal obtained from Spain in 1750. The Indians were first resisted and were defeated and forced to submit (1756). Pombal blamed the Jesuits, their spiritual leader, for the natives’ resistance and began a systematic compaign of calumny against them. At the request of the Portuguese government pope Benedict XIV appointed Cardinal Saldanha, a relative of Pombal as a canonical visitor to the Society. Saldauha induced the Patriarch of Lisbon to suspend all Jesuits from preaching and hearing confession.

The Jesuits appealed to Rome. Then the Pombal forged a letter from the pope confirming Saldanha’s decision. The forgery was denounced at Rome. Then the Jesuits were accused of preaching regicide.  On 12 January 1759 all the Jesuits in Portugal were arrested. 221 superiors and other high-placed members had to spend the next 18 years -till Pombal’s death -in jail. Theothers were transported to the papal port of Civitavecchia, where they were unloaded “as a present to the pope”. Their houses, colleges and properties were confiscated. When the papal nuncio protested he was expelled and diplomatic relations with Rome was severed.

A similar fate befell on the Jesuits in France. The week king Louis XV was under the influence of Madame Pompadour, his mistress who hated the Jesuits because they refused to sanction her adulterous relationship with the king. She and others were waiting for an opportunity to discredit the Jesuits. It came in a curious way. The Jesuit mission at Martinique failed financially when its cargoes were captured by the English pirates early in the Seven Years’ War (1756). The principal creditor was Fr. La Vallette S.J. who undertook the sale of colonial products in Europe. The importing company in France (Lioney   Gauffre) sued the society as collectively responsible. La Valette left a big deficit and applied for money to the Jesuit Procurator General of the Missions. The Society refused to pay the debt. Then the Jesuits appealed to the parliament of Paris. The parliament decided that the society as a body was liable. The society also accused of participation in an assignation attempt on Louis XV in 1757. In August 1762 the parliament passed an act dissolving the Society in France. The king subscribed to it on 1 Dec. 1764. Their property was confiscated.

            The next blow was in Spain the stronghold of the Jesuits. When serious riots occurred in 1766, the minister Aranda convinced king Charles 111 (1759-1788) that the Jesuits were to blame for that. An enquiry was conducted in secrecy; no Jesuit was heard. All records of the proceedings were destroyed and decision reached was rendered without any reasons given. Sealed orders were dispatched throughout the kingdom with instructions to open them on the night of April 2, 1767. On the next morning every Jesuit in the country and the empire were arrested and transported to the Papal States.

The king of Naples (son of Charles III) suppressed the society in November 1767; also the Duke of Parma. All these rulers together demanded the pope to suppress the Society. Clement XIII refused. Then they began to confiscate the Papal States and threatened to depose the pope. Clement died while they planned to blockade Rome.

            The conclave lasted three months; 23 candidates were excluded on the grounds that they were favourable to the Jesuits. Finally Clement XIV (1769-1774) was elected.  He tried to delay the suppression but he yielded to the demands of the rulers and on 21 1 July 1773 he published a Brief “Dominus ac Redemptor” by which he suppressed the Society of Jesus. In this the Pope made no charges against the Jesuits and said that the “Church cannot enjoy true and lasting peace as long as the society remains inexistence”.

The Society continued to subsist in Prussia and Russia. In 1778 Pius VI sanctioned it. In 1801 Pius VII declared the society reestablished for the whole of Russia. They were allowed to accept novices and to live according to their rules. They were also allowed to enter other orders. In 1814 Pius VII (1800-1823) reestablished the society on a universal basis.

Trench Revolution

The 18th century was an exceedingly difficult period for the church in Europe. The church displayed the appearance of more decadence than of renewal. She possessed enormous wealth, countless and state support, but its authority was shaken. There was the disparity between the world and the church. The world was in the process of full economic, social and cultural development. The church authority was simply incapable of differentiating between the real requirements of faith and the non-essential accessories.

Gallicanism and Febronianism were the doctrinal expression of a sentiment hostile to Rome. Even many members of the clergy accepted the notion that the spiritual supremacy of the pope was nothing more than an honorary privilege. While the enlightened rulers improved the economic, social and education condition of their states, the Papal States were in a vulnerable state in these fields. In fact the popes of the 18th century with the exception of Benedict XIV could not rise above party factions and exercise his authority. Prof. Rogier makes an assessment of the papacy of the 18th century: “in general the actual influence of Rome on international happiness was extremely small; its contributions to the development of thought exhausted themselves in stereotype and sterile protest. Surveying the cultural history of the 18th century, one repeatedly misses the participation of the church and its supreme leadership in the discussions of the burning issues of the period.  If Rome contributed at all, it did so only negatively, with an admonition, an anathama, or an exhortation to silence.  Regrettably Rome not only failed to join in dialogue with a generation as strongly affected by the currents of the age as that of the eighteenth century, it systematically avoided it”. On the eve of the upheavals of 1789, the 1740 formulation of President Charles de Brosses was still valid: “‘if in Europe the credit of the Holy See is shrinking daily, this loss stems from unawareness by papacy of its antiquated modes of expressions”. The people continued to perform their religious duties without conviction. The nobility and the educated adopted an increasingly emancipated stance.

The church lacked the acuity necessary to develop a new religious anthropology to respond to the message of Revolution as well as the spiritual reorientation of the age.  She failed to abolish the system of benefices which was one of the chief sources of dissatisfaction. There were noteworthy problems within the monastic system of the period. The religious atmosphere within the walls was in general rather mediocre. People regarded monasticism as an easy life which provided good incomes to the monks who administered extensive pieces of real estates and undertook expensive construction projects. Many monasteries were half empty and some suffered from a crisis of belief and discipline. The opponents of monastic life felt that some orders are totally useless to society. In their eyes only those orders were acceptable which devoted themselves exclusively to education and care of the sick. Consequently in some countries the governments began to secularize a part of monasteries. In the republic of Venice 127 monasteries were closed between 1748 and 1797. Similar measures were taken in Tuscany, Parma, Lomabardy, Spain etc. In France such an action bad been suggested and organized by the clergy itself despite the protest of the pope. In 1768 a number of steps for the reform of orders were suggested to the king. Consequently 426 monasteries were dissolved; their lands were turned over to the dioceses.

There was also a crisis among the clergy (secular). In some countries their state was very lamentable. A very large number of priests lived from the income of benefices or other sources without performing any pastoral work. The attempt to upgrade the intellectual and spiritual education of the lower clergy by the end of the 18th century could not put an end to the abuses among them. A large number of the clergy in France were interested in Gallicaniam whose goal was to reduce the authority of the pope and the bishops.

In 1775 Pius VI was elected pope (Cad. Gianangelo Braschi, Cesena 1717).  He was rather world1y, spent large amount of money for the beatification of Rome. He also revived nepotism, built a splendid palace for his nephew. He introduced reforms in the Papal States, improved roads. He found difficulty to maintain the traditional position of papacy. On the eve of French revolution Pius VI failed to supply a much needed decisive stance. Godechot stated: He displayed more courageous abstinence than real sensitivity”.

In the 18th century France was the country with the largest catholic population. The monastic orders had the largest number of houses. Their theological and spiritual influence was comparatively strong. The Catholic Church in France linked to the state and enjoyed significant political, juridical and financial privileges. Catholic Church was the established religion in France and was supported by the secular powers. Other denominations and religions were not tolerated. The relationship between the church in France and the Holy See based on the concordat of 1516. It conceded certain rights to the king, eg. the right to distribute benefices etc.

The clergy enjoyed a predominant position in every respect. In parliament they constituted an estate general. These delegates met every five years in general convention. There were 135 dioceses 50,000 Priests working in the parishes and between 15,000 and 18,000 canons who served virtually no function. There were also 20,000 to 25,000 monks and 30,000 to 40,000 nuns. The French clergy comprised approximately 120,000 persons. Besides there were a large number of sacristans and chorists, as well as businessmen and staff who took care of worldly concerns. This secular and regular clergy possessed impressive economic power. It owned numerous urban buildings, property etc. They were exempted from tax. Tax privilege was compensated for by heavy expenditures especially costs of education and welfare.

The Revolution, in fact, began as a liberating force completely compatible with the teaching of gospel. Facing bankruptcy, Louis XVI decreed that the Roman Catholic Church and the nobility less than 2 percent of the population, owning a third of France would pay land taxes. Challenging his Authority the nobility forced Louis to convene the estates general, a body of the clergy, nobles and commoners that had not met since 1614. The Estates General met at Versailles on 5 may 1789 after a full catholic ceremony.  On the 4th May there was a grand procession and Holy Mass. During the mass they begged God to enlighten the deliberations of Estates General. No one foresaw so dark a future in that hour of glory. The representatives of third estate declared themselves the National Assembly and urged the clergy and the nobility to join them. On 20 June they gathered in an indoor tennis court and took an oath “never to separate until the constitution of kingdom shall be laid and established”. Louis reluctantly accepted the Assembly.

On 11 August 1789: The national Constituent Assembly abolished feudal rights and ecclesiastical Privileges. On 26 August it made Declaration the rights of man and the citizen which included the freedom of belief and worship.

            The revolution, then, betrayed its original ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity and began to persecute the believers. In November 1789 the National Assembly nationalized the church property and on 13 February 1790 it suppressed the contemplative orders and banned the solemn vows. On 12 July 1790 it passed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy which contained the old Gallican ideas.

Its contents:

            It reduced the number of dioceses to 85 from 135 and they were divided conterminous with the geographic division of the country. There was to be one parish for every 6000 inhabitants

            The bishops and priests were to be elected by the electoral colleges on the level of department and districts – all citizens, Protestants, Jews form the electoral college.

            Bishops, priests and vicars were to be paid salaries by the state with the condition of performing all religious services free of charge.

            Bishops were entitled to inform the pope of their election, the canonical investment of the bishops were to be done by the metropolitans without prior confirmation by the pope. The title ‘archbishop’ was abolished and ten bishops were called metropolitans.

            A council of priests was formed to participate in the administration of the dioceses.

            All benefices without the care of souls were abolished.

The aim of the Constitution was to make the French church a purely national one and to remove the clergy as far as possible from all contact with Rome. The constitution obliged all the clergy to take an oath of loyalty to the constitution (27 Nov 1790). The weak king Louis sanctioned the constitution on 26 Ajec.1790 excusing himself on the grounds that a refusal would endanger his life and that of his family.

The French church was divided into two camps because of this constitution: 1. the church of constituent clergy 2. the church of non-constituent clergy (they were majority). On 10 March 1791 the pope Pius VI (1775-99) condemned the constitution by “quot aliquantum”. Again on 13 April pope condemned it by his bull Caritas because it based on heretical principles and declared the constituent clergy suspended. He declared that the ordination of the new bishops sacrilegious and prohibited them from performing their offices a d threatened with suspension all priests who refused to recant their oaths. He also condemned the declaration of the rights of man and citizen as contradictory to catholic doctrines regarding the origin of the authority of the state, freedom of religion and social inequality. In 1791 the national Assembly, in reprisal, declared Avignon and Venesian country to be the property of France.

2. Legislative Assembly (1 October 1791 -September 22, 1792)

It composed of people who were farther to the left both politically and religiously. It began to persecute believers. On 29 November 1791 it ordered that clergymen, regardless of their ministry, who did hot take the oath within eight days, would be regarded as rebelling against the law and as having evil intentions against the country. They would lose their pensions, were removed from their residences. On 1 August 1792 all congregations were dissolved, monasteries were closed, property of the church was sold, and clerical dress was prohibited. On 26 August it ordered to depose all priests loyal to Rome. About 20,000 priests were rendered homeless and they found refuge in other European countries. On 2 September 1792 there occurred the September Massacre in the prisons of Paris in which at least 1400 victims including 300 clergymen, 3 bishops, were executed. It was very cruel. Many were cat into pieces by hatchets. Women were brutally violated before being torn to pieces by those tigers; the intestines were cut out and worn as turbans. The victims seemed happy because ‘they went to death as to a wedding’. In the following years about 30000 clergymen fled from the country.

The decapitation machine “Guillotine” was first used on 25 April 1792. It was adopted as humane capital punishment – I a cool breath on the back of the neck”. Its proponent was Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin.

3. National Convention: 22 September 1792 -October 1795.

National Convention completed the work of demolition. It abolished the monarch rand declared France a republic. Louis was beheaded as a traitor to the state and nation on 21 January 1793. His wife also met the same fate on 16 October 1793. Both were guillotines. -On 21 June 1791 in servants disguise Louis and his wife attempted to flee France, after midnight for 200 miles dash to Austrian territory ruled by queen’s brother. But on route a postmaster identified Louis. Then 40 miles from the border his royal carriage was halted and they were arrested and brought to France. There was a posted warning: “any one who applauds the king will be beaten, any one who insults him will be hanged”.

During this period many were shot. Divorce was allowed and civil marriage was made obligatory. It passed laws on the marriage of priests and for their protection and support.  12 bishops and 2000 priests got married.  The christian calendar was replaced by the Republican calendar, the first year of which was to begin on 22 September 1792, the day of the proclamation of the Republic. Sunday was deleted from the new calendar and the day of rest was every ten days. Civil holiday were substituted for traditional christian feast days. Finally in November 1793 the Convention instituted the cult of Reason and Nature, i.e., atheism. The cathedral of Notre -Dame was desecrated by scandalous rites in honour of the goddess of reason. Some 2400 churches suffered a like-fate. Many of them were used as store-houses and stables.

            There were people who were against the extreme reforms. At the suggestion of Robespierre in 1794 the convention agreed to recognize a Supreme Being and immortality of soul. But persecution continued and the members of convention executed him on 28 July


4. The Directory Oct. 1795-1799

The directory was a governing body of five members. During this period there was an outbreak of violent persecution. All the laws against the non-juring priests were reactivated and under the orders of directory, the priests were hunted down all over France. Those captured were deported to French Guiana where they died. A new deistic religion called Theophilanthropism appeared. (deism= belief in the existence of God without accepting revelation, one who professes to unite love to God with love to man). The directory tried to enforce the observance of the republican calendar and decadi. Nevertheless by 1798 divine services had been resumed in about 40,000 parishes.

The faithful became aware of their responsibility to the church. In the absence of the priests, they organized prayer meetings, gave children religious instruction. Former nuns (without habit) encouraged pious girls to devote themselves to religious instructions and charitable work. In 1791 the Daughters of Heart of Mary was founded adjusting to the new conditions. By 1799 there were 267 members in 10 dioceses. They were no external sign, retained their occupations and continued to live with their families.

In 1796 General Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Milan and then the northern portion of Papal States. The directory demanded from the pope the renunciation of the condemnations of the constituent church. Pius VI refused. Negotiations between pope and the French government produced no results. Meanwhile Bonaparte began preparations to march on Rome, and forced the pope on 16 February 1797 to accept the treaty of Tolentino to abandon his rights to Ronagna and to pay 15 million Franca.

On 27 December 1797 the Directory ordered immediate occupation of Papal States. On 15 February 1798 Rome was occupied and was declared republic. Pius VI, 81, pleaded to be allowed to die in peace in Rome. Instead he was forced to flee to the still independent duchy of Tuscany. The pope was declared deposed, carried off first to Sienna then to Florence. In May he was brought to France. He died on 29 August 1799 at Valence.

The next conclave was convoked on 1 December 1799. Of 46 cardinals 35 participated (30 Italians). On 4 March 1800, Cardinal Barnaba Chiaramonti was elected pope Pius VII. He was a man of doctrine and a shepherd of souls, always gave pronounced preference to the religious goals. He had the courage of his convictions, but had great tolerance for opinions which differed from his own. At 14 he joined the Benedictines, studied in Padua, Rome, professor of theology from 1766-75 in Parma, and also at St. Anslem, Rome. He became bishop of Tivoli in 1783, bishop of Imola and Cardinal in 1785. As a diplomatic mediator he had an outstanding ability to hold without braking and to reconcile without bending. At Christmas he declared that the democratic form of the government was not in opposition to the gospel and religions was even more important in a democracy than in any other form of government. He appointed cardinal Consalvi, a conservative reformer as his secretary of State. Due to his diplomatic skill Papal States were restituted.

Napoleon Bonaparte

On 9 November 1799 the general Napoleon by a coup d’etat, overthrew the directory and became the first consul for ten years. His foreign minister was Talleybrand. Napoleon was deist and a stranger to religious practices. He looked upon religion as having only a practical value. It was evident to him that only Christianity was the ethical foundation of European civilization. Therefore, he felt the need of it.

The concordat of Napoleon 15 July 1801

            On 5 June 1800 Napoleon stated that it was his firm conviction that religion was an indispensable adjunct to the state and that it was his wish that France be reconciled to the Holy See. Soon thereafter negotiations were begun, but immediately encountered serious obstacles, mainly unreasonable demands of Napoleon himself. Finally a concordat was drawn up on 15 July 1801 by cardinal Consalvi and Napoleon’s foreign minister Talleygrand. It gave the French church legal status, but a status far removed from that she had once enjoyed. Catholic religion was recognized as the religion of “the great majority of French people” and it could be exercised freely and publicly while conforming to police regulations. The dioceses were redistricted into 60 of which 10 would be metropolitans. All bishops must resign and the new bishops were to be named by the First Consul but the pope was to give them canonical institution. All clergy were to take an oath of loyalty to the state. They waived all claim to church property confiscated during the revolution, in view of which the government promised the bishops and parish priests a fitting maintenance. Bishops could redistrict their parishes with the consent of the proper state officials and appoint as pastors only persons acceptable to the government.

The concordat was not appreciated by all. Some bishops refused to abdicate and they considered it as anti-catholic. There was anti-Catholic in the government, who were not content with the concordat on the grounds that it was not sufficiently anti-Catholic. Therefore Napoleon added several further clauses -seventy seven organic articles- to the concordat, which he published at Easter 1802. Most of them were contrary to the terms of the original agreement and to the principles of canon law. The pope protested and pointed out 21 of them which could not be accepted under any conditions, but Napoleon paid no heed to this protest.

The new articles are:

i. All decrees of the pope and the synods outside France require the placet of the government.

ii. Professors of the seminaries are obliged to teach Gallican articles of 1682.

iii. Number of new priests is to be fixed yearly by government

iv. Catechism approved by the government is to be taught.

v. Diocesan or national synods need government authorization.

vi. No representative of the pope enter France without permission

vii. Clerics may appeal to the civil court.

viii. Distinction was made between rural pastors and others.

ix. No feast days other than Sundays.

In the meantime Napoleon restored Sunday in 1802 and abrogated the republican calendar in 1805.

Napoleon as Emperor

In May 1804 Napoleon was elected emperor. He invited pope Pius VII for anointing and coronation. Pius VII yielded to the pressure and anointed Napoleon in Notre Dame Cathedral on 2 December 1804. The coronation was preceded by a religious ceremony Pope was allowed to anoint, but Napoleon insisted on crowing himself. At the coronation ceremony Napoleon seized the crown from the hands of the pope and put it on his head.   The pope hoped, in return, two important concessions: 1) the revocation or modification of the organic articles; 2) the removal of divorce from the new code of civil law. But his hopes were blasted. Napoleon and his associates had interpreted the pope’s visit as a sign of weakness which they tried to exploit to the full. The pope returned to Rome humiliated and without obtaining any concession from the emperor.

The pope was requested to declare dissolved the marriage of Napoleon’s brother Jerome Bonaparte to Eize Patterson, an American protestant. A little later the pope refused to annul, Napoleon’s marriage to Josephine Beauharnais. Despite the pope’s refusal members of the French hierarchy gave the emperor the desired annulments. Napoleon had insisted St. Napoleon’s day be observed throughout the empire on 16 August.

Napoleon resumed war for the domination of Europe. And this war brought a rupture in his relations with the pope. The pope refused to approve of Napoleon’s annexation of Naples (Napoleon named his brother Joseph king of Naples).In 1809 Napoleon officially annexed the papal states to his empire and on 17 May 1809 he revoked the donations of Pepin and charlesmagne. The pope answered by excommunicating Napoleon and his associates: “against the robbers of the patrimony of Peter, their advisers, abettors and agents”.  During the night between 5 and 6 July 1809, 400 French soldiers entered Rome and arrested Pius VII and carried him off to Savona. The cardinals were taken to Paris.

Meanwhile Napoleon divorced Josephine and married Narie Louise the daughter of Austrian emperor. The decree of divorce was published on 16 December 1809. On 9 January 1810 the diocesan court pronounced the marriage null and void. On 2 April 1810 Napoleon married Marie Louise. Thirteen of 27 cardinals then in Paris refused to attend the wedding. Napoleon “decardinalized” them who were known “black cardinals” and those attended the wedding were known “red cardinals”.

Pius VII suffered much. He was treated most harshly and shame fully; books, pen, ink, ring were taken from him. The longer the conflict the greater become the vacant sees.  Napoleon wanted to full them without the approval of the pope. He convoked a national council of the bishops at Paris in June 1811 under the presidency of Napoleon’s uncle cardinal Fesch. There it was decided that metropolitans had the right to confer canonical institutions in case the pope did not do so within six months of a candidate’s presentation.

On 9 June 1812 the pope was moved to Fontainebleau palace near Paris. When Napoleon returned from Russia, defeated and desperate, he met the pope. On 25 January 1813 Pope was forced to sign an agreement known as concordat of Fontainebleau. In this the pope renounced the Papal States and conceded that canonical institution of bishops could be made by the metropolitan if the pope did not act within six months. However, the pope revoked this concession within 24 hours. Napoleon suppressed the revocation kept the pope isolated and published the concordat as valid reconciliation of the church and the state in France.

Napoleon’s power was almost at an end. He was defeated by the allies and was forced to sign his abdication at Fontainebleau on 16 April 1814. He was then sent to the island Elba. He reached there on 4 May. He was given allowance 2,000,000 francs yearly. He had 400 volunteers and the title of emperor. Before he had been sent to Elba, he tried to poison himself. On 20 March 1815 he returned to Paris, and resumed war. But he was defeated at Waterloo on 18 June 1815. On 22 June he abdicated in favour of his son. He wanted to escape to U.S.A., but was prevented and exiled to St. Helena.

            On 15 October 1815.Navoleon arrived at St. Helena in southern Atlantic. His life there was hard; breakfast at 10.00 dinner 7-8 p.m. He used to play cards, reading, and writing, study English, and went to bed by midnight. He had difficulty with the governor of the island. His wife did not visit him. She had a son from him, and a lover too. In 1817 he showed the sign of illness -ulcer or cancer of the stomach. In March 1821 he confined to bed. In April he dictated his last will: “I wish my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of that French people which I have loved so much … I die before my time, killed by the English Oligarchy and its hired assassins”. On 5 May 1821 Napoleon died at the age of 52. He spoke: “my God… the French nation, my son, the head of the army. He died at 5.49 p.m. The stone covering the tomb bore no name but only two words: “cig it”-here lies.

The pope Pius VII was released in March 1814 and on 24 May 1814 he entered Rome amid jubilation of the people. When the pope returned to Rome he said to the people: “let us forget the past”. When napoleon was in exile at St. Helena pope wrote to cardinal Consalvi: “The emperor’s family has informed us through cardinal Fesch that the rocky lsland of St. Helena is fatal to health and the poor exile is dying by inches. We are deeply distressed to hear this and you will certainly share our grief; for we must both remember that to Napoleon more than anyone after God, is due the restoration of our religion in the great kingdom of France. The pious and courageous initiative of 1801 has long ago effaced the memory of later wrongs. Savona and Fontainebleau were only mistakes due to temper, or the errors of an ambitious man; the concordat was the saving act of a christian and a here”. This is perhaps the most charitable estimate ever made of Napoleon’s role in the history of the church. Pope gave refuge to Napoleon’s mother, cardinal Fesch and his two brothers in Rome.

Pius VII lived another eight years after Napoleon’s downfall. In the congress of Vienna (1815) the Papal States were returned to the pope. Concordats and conventions were made with various countries and the prestige of papacy was restored.


The French revolution produced mixed results:

1. The prince-bishop disappeared into the pages of history, when Napoleon secularized the holdings of the church.

2. The monastic orders were reduced to near impotency. This weakened the liturgical life of the church.

3. Church’s influence on cultural and intellectual life was lost when the universities in which ecclesiastical and intellectual life had flourished, had been closed down or were taken by the state.

4. French revolution had put an end to the absolute king and thus the church was free to work out a new set of relationship with the state.

5. Concordats were made for regulating relations between church and the state.

6. French revolution was a political and social solvent. It melted down old institutions, good and bad and enabled the church to begin afresh.

7. It loosed forces hostile to the church: liberalism, nationalism, secularism etc.

The Church after 1815

Napoleon’s system was an artificial one and it collapsed because it rested on the genius and determination of one man. It ruined Europe, displaced frontiers, and subverted the social order. The church suffered materially, lost more than half of her property, which had supported her seminaries and charitable institutions and schools. It affected the parochial life and ecclesiastical administration. Many archives had been dispersed, many universities disappeared. Though the church lost her social influence together with her privileged position, morally she was not impoverished.  The martyrs during the popular regimes and the black cardinals are the examples of this.

During this period there were signs of spiritual reawakening. France witnessed a large growth in the number of vocations and a remarkable flowering of regular orders. Between 1820 and 1828 the surplus of ordinations was 2,289. The average annual number of ordinations rose to 3000. Religious congregations were revived. In 1816 the Society of French Missions was founded. There grew a new attachment to the papacy and a new appreciation of the value of a religion independent of the state. There were also a host of new religious orders of women particularly devoted to teaching. The declaration of Catholicism, as the state religion by Louis XVIII on 4 June 1814, the restoration of Society of Jesus in 1814 were good signs.

There was also a sad picture. Faith was not deep rooted. There was hypocrisy and rebellion. Lacordaire asserts that at one state secondary school in France where daily mass was obligatory, thirty youngsters went together to communion in order to obtain consecrated wafers with which to seal their letters.

Pact of Holy Alliance – 1815

On 20 September 1815 , emperor Francis I of Austria, Frederick William III of  Prussia, Czar Alexander declared that they wished to base their mutual relations on the sublime truths taught by Christ and firmly resolved to take as their sole rule of conduct the doctrine of the church. They decided to consider themselves as brothers and as fathers towards their subjects. They would be three members of a single family and confessed Christ as their, sovereign to whom all powers properly belong. They also invited others princes to join the pact of holy alliance. This was not approved by the church.

During the thirty years after 1815 the absolute king sought to regain lost ground and the liberals to overturn the settlement of 1815. The first liberal risings in Spain and Italy were easily suppressed. But from 1848 to 1870 liberalism touched its apogee and in Italy it achieved the most spectacular and systematic triumph of all.

The popes as temporal sovereigns were absolutish. They were affected by the political duel between liberalism and absolutism. Liberalism opposed Catholicism. It was really interested in the material betterment of mankind and correction of social abuses. Some of its fundamental postulates were irreconcilable with the catholic teaching.

In 1870 the temporal power of papacy came to an end. The same year witnessed the triumph within the church itself of the old Roman, conception of the papal office. Thus there began a new type of pope. The popes of the nineteenth century restoration (1800-1878) are all of them good men and several are men of real ability. But they are all meant of the eighteenth century or rather of the absolute age of which that century was popularly the symbol.

Pius V11 (1800-1823), Leo XII (1823-29), Pius VIII (1829-30), Gregory XVI (1831-1846), Pius IX (1846-1878), Leo XIII (1878-1903).

None of these really understood the new world which the revolution had produced, understood either how to fight it or how to convert it. Leo XIII was a pope supremely gifted in political understanding and in the diplomatic gifts. He was the greatest papal ruler since Pius 111 (1534-1549). He was a traditionalist and conservative who thought in modern terms and spoke in the modern idioms. His reign was the beginning of a new age of catholic history. During the reign of Pius IX, France was the scene of the heroic life of St. John Mary Vianny (1786-1859), many apparitions of Our Lady -1830, 1846, 1858, 1871, esp. 1858 in Lourdes. Italy had St. John Bosco, Joseph Cottelengo, and Gabriel of Sorrows.

The Popes of the Nineteenth Century

Pius VII (1806 1822)

The settlement after Waterloo restored to the pope the Papal States. But it posed a problem: could they survive? The demand for Italian unity was to grow. How would papacy meet it? Cardinal Consalvi who was dismissed to appease Napoleon, was reappointed as secretary of State on Napoleon’s fall. He was the chief negotiator for the pope of the diplomatic settlements. He introduced several changes which were opposed even by a few cardinals.

The authority of the pope was enhanced by concordats or agreements with several States. Rome was made the centre of European culture, works of art, books and manuscripts were restored. In 1814 Congregation of Extraordinary ecclesiastical Affairs was instituted, renewal of monasteries, religious orders and congregations. Pius VII died on 20 August 1823 at the age of 81.

Leo XII (1823 1829)

            Cardinal Consalvi was labeled as too liberal; to some he had seemed dictatorial. So the choice of Consalvi as successor to Pius was opposed. He died on 24 January 1824. His final words: Io sono tranquillo -I am at peace.

            Annibale Francesco Clement Melchior Girolomo della Genga, (1760 b.) was elected as Leo XII. He spent large part of his life as nuncio. When Napoleon mistreated Pius VII, he retired to the monastery. After Pius returned to Rome, he called Genga again into his service and was sent to congratulate Louis XVIII on the latter’s restoration. When there was a sharp clash between Consalvi and Genga the latter returned to his monastery. In 1820 he was summoned to Rome. At the time of election he was sick. When he was asked after the vote whether he would accept it, he protested saying that the cardinals were electing a corpse. He surprised his physicians. He guided the church for six years which witnessed several achievements. He brought papal finance into order reduced taxation, urged the bishops to be examples of sound morals and doctrine, to be diligent in pastoral visitation, to pay attention to the seminaries. He fought against Gallicanism and Josephism. In 1825 be proclaimed Jubilee year, the first since 1775.

Leo launched a world wide appeal for the rebuilding of St. Paul Outside the Walls, which had been destroyed by fire in 1823. He left the Quirinal and took residence in the Vatican. He tried to improve the morals of the people and of the clergy. His opposition to nepotism made him unpopular with many among both the officials and others. He put the Church of Rome in a better physical condition and revived the spiritual life of the city. He ordered to cloth the naked statues in Rome. In France he had to face the trends of Gallicanism. In Austria he still faced the traditional Josephism. In Spain and Portugal he was confronted by anticlericalism of the liberals. The pope died on 10 February 1829 at the age of 69. pasquin insulted him with these verses: “Holy Father thrice you have mocked us,  by agreeing to become pope, by living long and by dying on Carnival day”. His pontificate was not brilliant, but it revealed the difficult situation with which the church was then confronted. Only a strong, daring and far-sighted genius could have escaped from the dilemma, and it was not the fault of Leo XII that he was no such man.

Pius VIII (1829-1830)

Cardinal Francesco Saverio Castiglioni was elected pope who took the name Pius VIII. He was learned in canon law, Biblical Literature and numismatics. He had had administrative experience in several posts including bishoprics and posts in Rome. He had suffered imprisonment because of his opposition to Napoleon. After his release Pius VII had rewarded him with the cardinal’s hat, and is said to have wished him for his successor. Out of gratitude he took the title Pius. He was mild in temper and not likely to go to extremes or to have particularly vigorous pontificate. He was 67 at the time of election and was not well.

The situation was everywhere disturbing; there was perhaps no catholic country where grave problems did not confront the church. In France she had to face Gallicanism and liberals. In Spain anticlericalism, in Italy hostility towards the church. For the pope the solution was silence and temporization. In the midst of these problems, the pope tried to check the menace of secret societies and advance of indifference. His choice of cardinals also seemed to indicate a desire to rejuvenate the Sacred College. A rescript of November 1829, recommending to catholics, throughout the world the fund for the propagation of the Faith, proved that he had a sense of the chinch’s universality and of her obligation to share in the great movement of western expansion that was then taking place. Pius died on 30 November 1830. Pasquinades greeted his passing: “nacque, pianse, mori, declared the Romans; but no, Pius VIII had done more than be born, weep and die.  His death marked the end of an epoch. The attempt made since 1815 to annul the Revolution and return to the past had evidently failed. It was now essential to take account of that new life which awaited the world and the church. Perhaps that failure was foreseen by Joseph de Maistre when he wrote these prophetic words: “a counter revolution must be not a revolution in the contrary direction, but the contrary of a revolution”.

Gregory XVI (1831-1846)

            The conclave dragged on for fifty days due to the opposition of two candidates -Pacca and Giustiniani. Then Mauro Cappellari, a Camaldolese monk, austere and pious was elected pope. He took the name Gregory XVI. He was the secretary of Propaganda.  He was a stranger of politiacs and the ways of the world and unable to cope with the complicated problems of his time. There were serious revolts in the papal states. In Italy   a movement for national unity was growing. The radical party called “Young Italy” founded by Giuseppe Mazzini (+1872) was basically revolutionary and anti religious. They had secret plans to overthrow papal rule. Even some of the clergy were infected with revolutionary ideas. The moderate patriots like Alessandro Manzoni (1873) tried to reconcile the papacy with political liberalism and dreamed of an Italian confederacy of states, with the pope at the head. The consciousness of unity however, continued to grow stronger. Gregory on his part defended the liberty of the church.

La Mannais and papacy

Felicite de La Mennais said: “catholics break for ever with the men whose incorrigible blindness imperils this holy religion. Rejected by the state the church should withdraw from political society and concentrate upon herself, with a view to recovering, along with her essential independence and the fulfillment of her destiny, her pristine and divine strength”. In order to promote his ideas La Mennais founded a jounmal “L’Avenir” whose motto was “God and Liberty”. He had a youthful team- Abbe Gerbet, Harel du Tancrel, Henri Lacordaire (1802-61), Vicomte Charles de Montalembert (1810-70). The first number of L’Avenir appeared on 16 Oct. 1830.

Pius IX (1846-1878)

When Gregory XVI died on 1 June 1846 the political condition of the papal state was tense. The Italian patriots desired to free Italy. The conclave was opened immediately without waiting for the arrival of the foreign cardinals. On the second day of the conclave Cardinal Mastai Ferretti was elected pope who took the name Pius IX in memory of his benefactor Pius VII. Giovanni Maria Mastei-Ferretti was born on 13 May 1792 in Senigallia. He was ordained priest in 1819, bishop of Spoleto in 1827-32, of Imola in 1832-46, cardinal in 1840. He made a journey to South America in 1823-25 which provided him with an insight into the new dimensions of missionary problems and into the difficulties which liberal governments could cause for the church. As archbishop he was known very liberal. One biographer describes him as “the creator of modern papacy”.

            Some considered Pius IX as a messenger of God sent to complete the great work of the 19th century the alliance between religion and liberty. Others considered him as a man with the fire of heart but weak in planning and without any real ability to lead.

Pius IX began his pontificate with the intention of meeting the just demands of the people for greater liberty and of establishing new political reforms in the papal states. On 17 July 1846 he granted a general amnesty to more than thousand prisoners and mitigated the censors then in force. This was hailed in Rome and throughout the world as the act of an enlightened ruler. The municipal government of Rome was reorganized and laymen were made eligible for many of the ministerial posts. A number of progressive measures were quickly undertaken, construction of roads, lightening the streets, improvements of prisons etc. Finally on 14 March 1848 a new constitution was proclaimed providing for two chambers, one to be named by the pope, the other to be elected by the people, the college of the cardinals to act as a Senate over both houses. These reforms were hailed with enthusiasm. But the people demanded more radical changes, even unreasonable demands. They also insisted that the pope drive the Austrians out of Italy and create a national state Pope’s prime minister Pellegrino Rossi was murdered on 15 November 1848 as he was ascending the steps of cancellweia to open the parliament.  When Pius 1X resisted these demands, a so called constitutional assembly Proclaimes Rome a republic under a triumvirate consisting of Mazzini Saffi and Amellini on 9 February  1849. On the next day Pius himself was besuieged in the Quirinal and threatened. He escaped in disguise and fled to Gaeta in the kingdom of Naples. Pope sought for French help. The French took Rome and restored the papal rule. In April 1850 Pius returned to Rome. Thereupon he left his liberalism.

            In 1850 the Roman clergy were ordered to wear the long soutane instead of breeches and frock coat, so as to indicate more clearly the difference between churchmen and men of the age. The bishops were requested to visit the pope at regular intervals. In 1850 an extraordinary jubilee was declared.

Definition of the immaculate caption of BL. Virgin Mary

On 2 February 1849 Pius IX asked the opinion of all the bishops about the definition of Immaculate Conception. Out of 603 bishops 546 urged the doctrinal definition. Then on 8 December 1854 he defined the doctrine of Immaculate Conception by the papal bull “Ineffabilis Deus”. He defined as the infallible teacher in the church in the presence of 54 cardinals and 200 bishops. The pope placed a golden crown on the head of Our Lady’s statue. The city was illumined.

Liberalism and the syllabus of errors: On .8 December 1864 Pius IX issued the encyclical “Quanta cura” with an appended “Syllabus of errors” (catalogue of doctrines). It contained some 80 of the principal errors of the time. The liberals protested it strongly. One of the theses condemned was the statement that “the pope can and should reconcile himself with progress, liberalism and modern civilization”. Here by modern civilization pope meant the attacks on the church, denial of religion, imprisonment of the clergy and closing of catholic schools.

The syllabus of errors contained eighty unacceptable propositions. In it the pope condemned pantheism and rationalism; indifferentism, which regards all religions as equal in value; socialism, which denies the right to private property and subordinates the family to the state; the erroneous concept regarding Christian marriage; Freemasonry, the rejection of temporal power of the pope; Gallicanism, which wanted to make the exercise of the ecclesiastical authority dependent on the authorization by the civil power; statism which insists on the monopoly of education and dissolves religious orders; and naturalism which regards, the fact that human societies no longer have respect for religion as progress and which demands laicization of institutions, separation of church and state, and absolute freedom of relegation and the press.

Dom Butler evaluated the syllabus “as a most inopportune document”. Actually the excitement was not very strong everywhere. The public remained calm, some because long ago they had stopped paying attention to the strictures of the Vatican in political questions, others because they realized that an exact interpretation of the Roman document required careful exegesis. In England the non Catholic public was virtually unanimous in finding the pope’s campaign against modern society totally ridiculous, primarily because he had condemned virtually everything. English Catholics, on the other hand, attempted, not very successfully, to argue that Pius IX had condemned the doctrinal errors and excesses of liberalism, and not the liberal institutions as England knew them. In the Netherlands the document contributed to increasing Protestant hostility to the papacy and to the hastening of the break between Catholics and liberals in parliament.

            The Austrian government feared that, encouraged by the encyclical the clergy would demand an even more favourable application of the concordat. Dollinger and friends deplored the syllabus; but the Mainz faction noted the condemnation of atheistic philosophers and of bold theologians with satisfaction. In France agitation lasted for several weeks. Many bishops wrote to Rome, pointing to the dangers of ambiguity, and demanded a clarification. Some of the others persuaded the government to forbid the official publication of the encyclical under the pretext that its condemnations were directed against the constitution of the empire. Dupanloup wrote a mitigating commentary on encyclical and the syllabus in the form of a defense of the pope.

Pius IX was no longer able to see the radical difference between catholic liberalism and liberalism as such. While regular liberalism, even its adherents practiced their religion, was naturalistic and wanted to separate man as much as possible from his religious ties, liberal catholics both intellectually and practically were guided by the demands of their faith and accepted, sometimes somewhat unwillingly, their subjection to the decisions of the church. Pius IX admitted the difference but unwillingly. In 1874 he declared: Catholic liberalism has one foot in the truth and one foot in error one foot in the church and one foot  in the spirit of the century, one foot on my side and one foot on the side o my enemies”.

Pius IX and I Vatican Council

A council was suggested to Pius IX as early as 1849 and it matured slowly. At the end of 1864 the pope consulted a number of cardinals about the advisability of the matter. Since their opinion was positive he decided to pursue the issue carefully. He consulted the bishops and other officers in the curia and asked them to submit suggestions for an agenda. Gradually he then formed four commissions to make detailed programme. Since the majority in the curia was not very enthusiastic about the council, the pope hesitated for more than two years. Finally on 26 June 1867 he publicly made known his intention, and invited to Rome on 8 December 1869 all the catholic bishops and those who had the right to participate in a council.

It was suggested to invite the representatives from the non-catholic churches. A letter was directed to all the Orthodox bishops in September 1868, in which they were asked to return to catholic church unity in order to be able to Participate in’ the council; a few days later a global letter was sent to Protestants and   Anglicans. From an ecumenical point o f view this was one of the saddest cases of missed opportunities.

In the catholic world the announcement of the council intensified the opposition between Gallicans and liberal Catholics on one side, ultramontane and opponents of the modern freedoms on the other. (Before the council it was reported that the council was going to define the papal infallibility. In Germany Ignaz Dollinger under the Pseudonym of Janus published a critical and partisan book attacking the primacy of the pope and the Roman centralization. In France a heated discussion was done on the question, of infallibility. Bishop Dupanloup insisted that it was inopportune to define the doctrine because of the difficulties it could create.) But several bishops like Deshamps, Manning demanded immediately that the council be utilized solemnly to define the truth of this publicly contested point. The majority of the German bishops at their annual conference at Fulda in September 1869 expressed reservations about the future definition of the personal infallibility the pope.

The council opened on 8 December 1869 in the presence of 700 bishops, 60 from Eastern rites, 200 from outside of Europe (121 from America, 49 US, 41 from India and the Far East, 18 from Oceania, 9 from Africa). The Italians constituted one-third of the assembly, they also provided two-thirds of the consultants and experts, all of the secretaries, and all five presidents, only one important position, that of secretary general, was entrusted to a foreigner, to the Austrian Fessler.

Before the council it was reported that the council was going to define papal infallibility. Then in Germany Prof. Ignaz Dollinger of Munich attacked infallibility on historical grounds. In France a heated discussion was done on the question of infallibility. Bishop Duponloup insisted that it was inopportune to define the doctrine because of the difficulties it could create. Cardinal Newmann supported him.

The council fathers assembled in an atmosphere of tranquility and security. The public sessions were presided over by the pope in person. On 24 April the third session of the council unanimously adopted and published the dogmatic constitution De Fide catholica concerning the fundamental doctrine of christianity and condemning the errors of Rationalism, aetheism, pantheism, traditionalism etc.

The question of infallibility of the pope had called forth much excitement within and outside of the council. It was included in the schema De ecclesia Christi. It became the matter of a heated discussion and it divided the Fathers into two camps:

1. The great majority held that a definition was proper and necessary. The leaders of infallibilists were Deschamps of Belgium and Manning of England. (451).

2. A minority, one fourth, opposed the definition. This group broke down into two groups:

a) Those who thought the doctrine was wrong. (88)

b) Those who believed in papal infallibility but thought its definition was inopportune. (62)

The chapters on the primacy of the pope and his infallibility were brought to a vote on 18 July 1870. 533 Fathers voted placet and two bishops non placet. Sixty bishops were absent for the final vote. After the definition the bishops throughout the world accepted the decision of the council as true and inspired. Do1linger’s supporters in Germany refused to accept the doctrine and they formed a small schismatic group called the Old Catholics.

On 19 July 1870 the Frank-Russian war broke out and many bishops obliged to leave Rome. Then on 20 September the Piedmontese took Rome and made it absolutely impossible to continue the council. Therefore on 20 October 1870 the pope prorogued the council indefinitely to a more Peaceful and favourable time.

The Papacy and Italian Unification

In the 19th century the drive toward national unification in Europe was strong. Attempts were made also in Italy like in other European countries to create a united Italy. When the dream of an Italian confederacy at under pope had proved impractical, the Italian patriots began to direct their gaze toward the ambitious king of Piedmont Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel 11 (1849-1878). They backed the plan of incorporating the various Italian states into Piedmont Sardinia. It was the plan of Camillo Cavour (1852-1861), the Piedmontese prime minister. His slogan was “a free church in a free state”. He made use of the help of the secret societies and revolutionaries to attain his ends.

            In 1859 Cavour declared war against Austria and sought of France. The Austrians were easily defeated and Parma, Modena, Tuscany and part of papal states were incorporated into Piedmont. The pope pronounced excommunication in vain. In the newly acquired provinces the church property was confiscated and state schools were established in which the teaching of religion was forbidden. In 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered Sicily and Naples. Other provinces Umbria and Marches were also conquered. In March 1861 Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed king of Italy.

            Only Rome and surrounding territory remained under the pope. The Italian nationalists wanted to make Rome the capital of Italy. Victor Emmanuel sent his envoy to speak with the pope, but pope denied even the possibility of negotiation. He received the royal emissary, read the letter, burst into violent reproaches against the vipers, the whited sepulchers of Florence and replied “non possumus”. On 2 September 1870 Rome and Vatican were seized. The protest and excommunication of the pope had no effect. In June 1871 Rome was proclaimed the capital of the united Italy and Quirinale became the residence of the king.

            The pope withdrew to the Vatican as a voluntary prisoner. On 13 May 1871 the Italian government issued the law of Guarantee to settle the affairs of the Holy See. This law invested the pope with personal attributes of sovereign, immunity from arrest, inviolability of his person. He could have a personal military guard, his communications with the bishops and foreign governments would be absolutely free. He should have his own postal and telgrrapgh services. He was given exclusive use of Vatican and Lateran basilicas and palaves, and palaves, and villa of Castel Gondolfo.  He was also granted a tax free pension of three and a quarter million lire a year.  Pius IX denounced the law of gurantee because it was a unilateral

Old Catholics

The opposition to infallibility culminated in the establishment of a new church, Old Catholics. Prof. Dollinger was its leader. Many professors in Germany joined him. They regarded themselves as conservatives adhering to the old catholic faith in the face of erroneous innovations.

In Germany it remained as an elite movement and in the 1870s it reached its peak with about six thousand members. In August 1670, 1300 Rhenish catholics protested against the council. In Nurenburg 32 professors appealed to an ecumenical council, true and free, to be held on this side of the Alps.

In September 1870 the first congress of old catholics was held in Munich with 300 delegates from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, guest participants from Orthodox and Anglican churches. Dollinger was against division, claimed the right to continued equal membership in the catholic church. He never formally joined old catholics, but others called for the establishment of an emergency community, the majority of the congress participants agreed with them.

The second congress was held in 1872 in Cologne. It officially adopted the name “Old Catholics”, decided to establish regular care and appointed a commission for the preparation of the election of a bishop. On 14 June 1871 Pro. Joseph Hubert Reinkens was chosen. He was consecrated by a bishop of Utrecht Church and thus entered into the apostolic succession. He was placed under interdict by Pius IX. Bishop Reinkens established an Episcopal administration in Bonn. He was acknowledged as a catholic bishop by Prussia, Baden etc.

The constitution of the Old Catholics was drafted by Schutte and it granted legislative powers and right to elect bishops to the synods formed of the representatives of clergy and laymen. It was approved by the Third Congress in 1873 in Constance. It was ratified by the first Synod in 1874 in Bonn. After 1880 German was employed in the liturgy of the Mass. In 1879 they abolished celibacy.

In Switzerland in 1875 a new church, Christ Catholic church of Switzerland Was established. In doctrine it followed the German model and its constitution it is more democratic. In 1876 Edward Herzog was elected bishop. They established a church oriented to Bible and Eucharist. In 1874 a university was established in Berne by government with the assistance of Herzog.  It became a theological center.

In Austria after 1872 there existed four Old Catholic communities. In 1879 its first synod was held and it adopted the German pattern.

The Old Catholic bishoprics and the Utrecht church, which prior to 1870 had been totally isolated, formed the union of Utrecht in 1889. It is an autonomous union of national churches free from Rome, whose honourary primate is the archbishop of Utrecht. A joint declaration again accepted the faith of the first millennium, and a kind of Roman primacy which then prevailed. It protested against the dogmas of 1854 and 1870. Dollinger’s internationally recognized scholarship and his ecumenical efforts in 1874-75 resulted in the Bonn conference of union, consisting of old Catholics, Russian Orthodox and Anglican theologians. In the 19th century they made a bold attempt at the international theological discussions and thus precursor to ecumenism.

Leo XIII (1878 1903)

The conclave began on 18 February 1878. 60/64 cardinals entered in the conclave. 25 cardinals were non Italians. A strong group of cardinals wanted the election conducted outside of Italy. Finally it was decided to have it in Rome, On 20 Feb. cardinal Gioachino Vincenzo Raffaele Luigi Pecci was elected pope with 44 votes. The new pope chose his name Leo XIII in gratitude to pope Leo XII for furthering his studies at the Roman seminary.

Leo did not deliver the benediction Urbi et Orbi from the outer loggia towards the St. Peters square, but toward the basilica. His coronation was held in Sistine chapel and not in St. Peter’s because there was no guarantee for security from the government. Pope’s choice of a name inspired the mockery: “Non e Pio, non e Clemente, ma Leone senza dente’. He sent individual inaugural letters to catholic as well as non catholic as well as non-catholic heads of the states, in which he indicated his desire to settle disputes. The Italian government was ignored and in turn the government did not recognize the new pope officially.

Pope Leo was born on 2 March 1810 in Carpineto, central Italy. His brother was a Jesuit. Leo was ordained priest in 1837, had doctorate in Theology. He was papal nuncio in Belgium from 1843-46. He was appointed bishop Of Perugia in 1846, cardinal in 1853, Camerlengo in 1877.

All agree that Leo XIII was a great pope. He was a humanist in the best sense of the word. He possessed a keen intelligence and political ability and experience.  He was prudent in his dealings with governments and was able to adjust differences amicably without sacricing the principles.

1. Leo XIII and the Italian problem

Leo seemed intractable in his dealings with Italy. He did not yield to the insulting attitude of the Italian government. His stand on the Roman question was the same as his predecessor’s. He refused to accept the Law of guarantee. He condemned the injustice of the government and exhorted the catholics not to participate in the national elections.

The Italian attack on the Church can be summed up under three classes of measures:

(1) Those intended to annoy and insult the pope and make a mockery’ of the catholic faith. The government officials were forbidden to attend thanksgiving services for the election of Leo, wanton attack of government supported hoodlums (street rowdy) on the funeral cortege (funeral procession) of Pius IX, when his body was removed in 1881 from St. Peter’s to the cemetry of San Lorenzo; permitting the newspapers and magazines to carry outrageous anti-catholic blasphemies etc. All these caused Leo to think of leaving Rome and he even entered into preliminary negotiations to take up residence in Austria.

(2) Those measures against church property. The government confiscated the wealth of the suppressed religious orders. In 1881 it took over control of the property of Propaganda Congregation.  It also took over the administration of the properties of the charitable associations.

(3) The anticlerical measures designed to hamstring (cripple) the Church and prevent her from carrying out her religious work. The Clergy were drafted into the army as soldiers, religious teaching was banned from the schools nomination of the bishops was hindered. The regulation of public worship was put under government control and police surveillance. Leo XIII found it impossible to do anything effective toward solving the Roman question. He bore them patiently and was very careful not to do anything that might appear to condone (overlook) these outrages against the Church.

2. Leo XIII and German Kulturkampf

Kulturkampf means battle for culture. It is a title used to describe a series of laws passed in Germany to weaken the ties between the church in Germany and the papacy and to bring the German church under the control of the absolute state. It began in 1871 with Bismark. Two series of events inaugurated the Kulturkampf. (i) The growing strength of the catholic centre party which the pope refused to condemn at the request of the German government. (ii) The protest made by the bishops and in the universities and colleges.

            In 1871 the Catholic Church was put under the control of the government. The government issued the “pulpit laws” which forbade any criticism of the government or the constitution under penalty of heavy fine and a year’s imprisonment. In 1873 a series of laws known as May Laws was passed to put the clergy under the government control. Candidates for priesthood had to spend three years in a state university and Pass a state examination in various non-theological subjects. Seminaries were put under the control of the state inspectors and government asserted its right to appoint and dismiss parish priests. Bishops and priests who disobeyed these laws were deposed.

            In 1875 religious orders except those engaged in hospital work were expelled. Hundreds of priests were fined or imprisoned; several bishops were deposed, exiled or imprisoned. Bismark operated these laws with brutal and mechanical efficiency. The strength of centre party grew and endangered the legislative plans of Bismark. And there was a feeling by 1878 that Kulturkampf was a rather shameful thing and there was no real justification for it.

When Bismark needed the support of the central party against the socialists, he entered into diplomatic relations with the pope. Finally in 1887 Bismark revoked the Kulturkampf and spoke eloquently of the pope as an agent of peace. The central party loyally attached to the Church. Its basic idea was that modern constitutions guarantee all citizens freedom of religion. This attitude of the centre party made the Kulturkampf a failure and an active and strong body of catholics grew at the end of 19th century in Germany.

3. Leo XIII and the Secular laws (Lois Laigues) of France

            Leo faced a different situation in France. The Lois Laiques the counterpart of Kultutkampf were more thourough, more vicious and more successful.

The French Revolution divided France into two nations: (i) Liberals (Republicans), (ii) Catholies (monarchists). The events of the 19th century made the difference between these two nations deeper and more bitter and the attempts of the liberal catholics like Ozanam and Duponloup failed to bring the two parties together. In 1877 the Republicans won the election. They formed the Third Republic. Gambetta became the prime minister. His slogan was “clericalism the enemy”.

The catholics were not sincere supporters of the church. There were professed atheists among them. They supported the church as an instrument to further their political views. They were divided into different groups bitterly opposing each other. On the other hand the republicans were disciplined +united.

The third republic declared war against the church. The clergy were expelled from all charitable institutions which were entrusted to laymen. Schools were laicized; military service was imposed on seminarians. Sunday labour was authorized and divorce courts were established. These laws were known as Ferry laws.

            The laicization of education was accomplished step by step. In 1880 the Jesiuts were expelled and their schools and colleges (28) were closed. All “non-authorized” congregations must apply within three months for authorization, submitting their statutes, rules and number of the members. Only those authorized by the government were to continue teaching. In 1882 all religious was excluded from the primary schools. In 1884 February Leo published an encyclical “nobilissima Gallorum Gens” in which he regretted that the eldest daughter of the Church had departed from its tradition. But the government continued its anti-Catholic activities. In 1886 all nuns were excluded from the government supported schools.

            Gradually the government had to stop their process of laicization because of two reasons: (i) the attempt to drive the church out of French life did not meet with widespread support. Less than 3% of the children were enrolled in the laicized state supported schools. (ii) The mild attitude of Leo. On 16 February 1892 the pope released his encyclical “au milieu des solicitudes” to the French bishops and their flocks. It was to end the dissensions among the French Catholics and to remove all pretexts of anticlericalism among the enemies of the church. In his Brief on 10 January 1890 “Saplunltiae christianae” the pope exhorted the French Catholics to be loyal to any form of the government and that they had an obligation to accept the Third Republic as duly established government and to work within it to protect the church’s interests and the common welfare. He said that the church was not opposed to any form of the government so long as religion and moral discipline were untouched and the church would not side with any party.

Again between 1901 and 1905 the French government enacted a series of anticlerical laws known as the “lois laiques”-secular laws – to drive the church out of French political, social and intellectual life. An Association Act of 1901 provided that any religious order wishing to continue work in France must obtain specific authorization from the government and submit to periodical inspection. A law of 1904 provided that within ten years no member of a religious congregation could teach in any French school, public or private. The separation Act of 1905 abrogated unilaterally the concordet of 1801. So the church was deprived of government support. The administration of church properties was entrusted to lay associations. Leo’s efforts in France had ‘failed but he had from time to time moderated the storm against the church and contributed to lessening the divisions among the faithful.

4. Leo XIII as the teacher of the Church

In the midst of tribulations and problems pope Leo performed successfully his function as the head of the Church. He issued a series of masterful encyclicals. The Kulturkampf, Lois Laiques and the Italian measures have all been rescinded and have melted into history. But the encyclicals of Leo are still read, studied and quoted’. He wrote on such current topics as marriage, errors of the day, the temporal power and the church and civilization. The great encyclicals are his most enduring memorial.

Inscrutabili Dei (878) on the evils affecting modern society, their causes and remedies.

Quod apostolici muneris (1878) defended the right of private property, sanctioned by the law of nature. He focused his attention on socialists, communists etc.

Humanum Genus (1884) against Freemasonry and secret societies.

Aeterni Patris (1879) on scholastic philosophy.

Rerum Novarum (15 May 1891) on labour problem.

Immortale Dei (1885) on basic political problems, the church and the state are two perfect societies.

Libertas praestantissimum on liberty as gift of God.

Providentissimus Deu’s (1893) on study of S.Scripture.

Diuturnum Illud (1881) people have the right to choose their form of the government.

Sapintiae Christianaeon, the chief duties of christians as citizens.

Divinum Illud, on devotion to the Holy Spirit.

Mirae Caritatis, on Eucharist.

Other activities

1881 – He opened Vatican archives to all scholars. 1886 – He instituted the Latin hierarchy in India (Kerala). 1887 – Ritual separation the Syrians and Latins in Kerala. Two vicariates for Syrians.

Pius X (1903-1914)

On 4 August 1903 Joseph Melchior Sarto, the Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice was elected pope. He took the name Pius X. He was a man of deep piety with a purely pastoral background. “Instaurare omnia in Christo” was his motto.

Joseph Sarto was born in 1835 as a son of a postmaster of Riese on Venetian plains. He was ordained priest at 23. He had experience as a pastor, chancellor and spiritual director of the seminary. He was ordained bishop of Mantua in 1884 and became patriarch of Venice and cardinal in 1893. The government delayed his elevation for sixteen months. He took a round trip ticket when he went for the conclave. He was elected pope on the fourth voting. It was complained that he was a bishop rather than a statesman because of his simplicity. His secretary of the State was Raphael Merry de Val.

Pius X and Modernism

            Modernism is difficult to define because they did not agree among themselves on what they believed. For them believing was unimportant whereas religious experience and pious living were the essence of the religion. Pius X summed up the teachings of modernism under 65 condemned propositions. He called Modernism “the synthesis of all heresies”.

The errors of Modernism are summed up under three headings: 1. Agnosticism: supernatural truths cannot be known with certainty by human reason. Holy Scripture could be interpreted subjectively. 2. Immanentism: S Scripture and tradition do not contain revelations of God, but expression of feelings and inner experience of extremely religious persons. For them religion is a purely inner experience. 3. Evolutionism: The church is a result of gradual evolution as it evolves it should adopt itself to changing times.

            By his decree “Lamentabili” (1907) Pius X condemned modernism. He renewed it in “Pascendi Domini Gregis”. He suggested appropriate remedies: sound training in the seminaries, careful scrutiny of professors in seminaries and universities, careful control of the bishopsover the catholic journals and news papers, creation of the diocesan board of censures, diocesan committee to safeguard teaching of religion in schools. In 1910 he published a motu proprio which obliged all priests to take an explicit anti-modernistic oath. The condemnation of modernism, though salutary, put a temporary check on the study of scripture.

Pius X and the codification of Canon Law

At Vatican I several bishops requested to revise the canon law. Pius IX and Leo XIII had made attempts in this respect. The canonists also suggested the church, legislation be revised and codified. On 19 March 1904 Pius X appointed a commission of cardinals, canonists and theologians to prepare a new code with the suggestions from all bishops. Cardinal Gasperi was appointed the secretary of the commission. To speed up the work, the commission was divided into two; one led by Gasperi another by cardinal De Lai. Books were published on:

Books I, II      –           20 March 1912

            III        –           01 April 1913

            IV        –           15 Nov. 1914

            V         –           01 July 1913

At the time of Pius’ death the major work had already been accomplished. The final conclusive version was published by Benedict XV in 1917.

Spiritual reforms of Pius X

1. Frequent and daily communion. In the beginning of 20th century there was a dispute between the advocates of frequent communion and its opponents. Leo XIII encouraged frequent communion Pius X also defended it and several decrees and letters in favour of it were published. In June 1905 he approved a prayer “for the propagation of the pious custom of daily communion, bringing to mind that Jesus meant to be the daily remedy and the daily food for our daily shortcomings. On 20 December 1905 the congregation for the council specified two conditions for receiving Holy Communion.  1. The state of grace, 2. Proper intention. He asked all faithful to communicate frequently and daily. On 8 October 1910 he issued the decree “Quam Singulari” declaring that it is sufficient for children to have the age of reason to receive the First Holy Communion. In April 1905 he founded the teague of Priests to enforce the application of the decree about the frequent communion.

            2. International Eucharistic Congress. The first Eucharistic congress was convoked in 1881. It was organized by Miss Tamisier, a French Lady, and a disciple of St. Peter Julian Eymard. The name Eucharistic congress was suggested by Msgr. Mermier. Msgr. Seigur was also associated with it.

Originally international congresses were meant to be public manifestations to inspire the devotion to Bl. Sacrament and to have a public witness to Christ’s kingdom. Pius X wanted these congresses be an occasion to encourage faithful to receive Holy Communion frequently even daily. This was especially pertinent at the Congress of Metz in 1907. In 1914 at Lourdes Eucharistic children’s crusade was founded. By then the Eucharistic congress became more international in character, besides, national congresses were also conducted.

3. Liturgical renewal. a) Church music. No significant renewal was done after the council of Trent. On 22 Nov. 1903 by “tra se sollicitudine” Pius X wrote on church music. It was qualified as the ‘charter of the liturgical movement’. He opposed the orchestral opera music. Gregorian chant was presented as perfect model of church music. He wanted music provide a prayer with a beautiful background. b) Revision of breviary (1911) C) yearly liturgical conventions

4. Concern for pastoral improvements. Pius X tried his best to improve the spiritual and moral level of the clergy and to inspire their pastoral enthusiasm. Under the direction of Consistorial Congregation a questionnaire was prepared in 1909 focusing on clergy’s observance of their duties and situation in the seminaries. He constantly reminded the bishops to use stricter standards when recruiting the priests. He prevented priests from participating in activities of an economic or political nature.

In order to improve the quality of the clergy, Pius X turned his attention to the seminaries including the minor seminaries. In 1907 a programme of studies was published. In 1908 norms for the organization of the seminaries in regard to education and discipline. It paid attention to minute details. It had many shortcomings – a life without much contact with outside world. The Roman regulations could not be executed due to lack of suitable men, finance etc.

Pius X was very careful in the selection of bishops.  St. Anselm was represented as the ideal bishop. He revised the methods of studied each one personally before the final decision. He issued regulations on their adlimina visits – a detailed report of the diocese every five years.

Reforms of Pius X

The London Times wrote after the death of Pius X: “It is not an exaggeration to say that Joseph Sarto instituted more changes in the administration of the Catholic Church than any of his predecessors since the council of Trent”.

Reorganization of the Roman Curia

The organization of the Roman Curia was instituted by pope Sixtus V on 21 January 1588 by his bull Immensa aeterni. There were 15 congregations. In the course of 300 years it turned into a heterogeneous assemblage of thirty seven agencies whose rights and responsibilities were often totally undefined and who were constantly in conflict with each other. Moreover the elimination of temporal authority rendered some of these agencies totally superfluous. Furthermore the administrative methods were completely obsolete, inflexible, out of date, costly etc. Many in the curia consider their work as a carrier to have the cardinal’s hat. The reform in the curia was very urgent. In 1903 Pius X suspended Congregation De eligendis episcopis and entrusted the appointment of the bishops to the Holy Office. In 1906 he suspended Congregation Super disciplina regulari and De Statu Regularum and entrusted everything concerned Religious Orders to Congregation of Bishops and Regulars.

On 29 June 1906 Pius X reorganized the Roman Curia by the Constitution “Sapiente consilio”. The new curia consisted of 11 congregations, three tribunals and five offices. I.Conareagtions

i. Cong. for Doctrine of Faith

ii. cong. of Consistory: in charge of bishops, seminaries

iii. cong. of the Sacraments

iv. cong. of the Council – general discipline of clergy and faithful

v. cong. of the Religious

vi. cong. of the Propagation of Faith

vii. cong. of Rite

viii. cong. of Ceremonies

ix. cong. for Extraordinary Affairs

x. congregation for Seminaries and Universities

xi. cong. of the Index (abolished in 1917)

2. Tribunals

i. Romana Rota -highest court of appeal.

ii. Apostolica Signatura – highest court of administrative and reversal of judgment.

iii. Sacred Penitentiary – the curial court of grace for the internal forum. Since it predominantly grants pardon, it should be considered rather as an administrative office than as a court.

3. Offices

i. Apostolic Chancery – responsible for the preparation and dispatching of bulls.

ii. Apostolic Datary -competent for the conferring of lesser ecclesiastical benefices (c.261).

iii. The Apostolic Camera (Chamber) – for the administration of temporal property and rights of the Holy See (c.262).

iv. The Secretariat of the State responsible for the direction of the policy of the Holy See.

v. The Secretariat of Briefs.

It is remarked that the basic structure of Sixtus V’s organization was not essentially (decisively) changed.

Papal Conclave

Pius I reorganized the papal conclave so as to insure absolute freedom in the election of the pope. He abolished the system of veto in 1904 (5 Dec.) and imposed absolute secrecy on the conclave’s deliberations under penalty of excommunication. On 19 May 1914 he created 13 new cardinals to give the College of Cardinals an even balance of Italians and non Italians.

Pius X ordered to teach catechism on Sundays and Holy days and to establish confraternity of Christian doctrine in every parish. He also pointed out the necessity of lay action in the Church (Il fermo proposito – 11 June 1905). He promoted the study of Bible. In 1909 he established the Biblical Institute in Rome.

St. Pius X did not possess the diplomatic ability and versatility of his predecessors. He permitted the Catholics to take part in the parliamentary elections provided the diocesan bishops approved. Pius X lived to see the outbreak of World War I, of which he spoke forebodingly. The war broke out late in the summer of 1914 and within three weeks the pope died on 20 August 1914. His kindness, simplicity and genuine piety had won for him the love off Catholics and the esteem of the non-Catholics.

Benedict XV (1914-1922)

Giacomo Paulo Battista Della Chiesa, the archbishop of Bolonga, was elected pope on 3 September 1914. He took the name Benedict XV in memory of his predecessor Benedict XIV (Lambertini). His coronation was on a September at Sixtine chapel.

Benedict XV was born on 21 November 1854 at Genoa. He had two brothers and a sister. He was ordained priest on 21 December 1878. In 1882 he was appointed to the cong. for extraordinary affairs, then as secretary to Card. Rampola. In 1887 he was appointed minutante of Secretariat of State. In 1901 he became the Sostituto, in 1907 archbishop of Bolonga. He was ordained bishop by Pius X at the Sixtine chapel. In 1914 he was made cardinal. When his mother complained about not promoting him to cardinalate, Pius X said to her: “your son takes few but long steps”.

Benedict was the ideal choice. He had experience in Roman curia as well as in pastoral work. He continued the reform works of Pius X. In 1914 he created a commission on the correction of the Vulgate and in 1915 he issued an encyclical on preaching. In 1915 he created a congregation for seminaries and in 1917 the congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

Benedict XV and the World War I

The First World War (1914-1918) broke out in the summer of 1914. It is called a world war for nearly every nation of the world became involved in it. Since Italy was neutral the conclave could be done in tranquility.

            The war caused the pope great pain. He followed a fourfold policy: perfect neutrality, protest violations of the moral law, perform works of charity for suffering humanity, attempt to end the conflict and to bring peace. He perused this with diplomatic skill and with a heart full of charity.

Benedict XV issued several documents appealing all to peace. In his encyclical Ad Beatissimi (I Nov.1914) the pope speaks of four causes of unrest that produced the war: 1. a general contempt has developed for authority, 2. mutual love no longer governs human relations, 3. class relations are dominated by injustice, 4. people are possessed of a universal fever to amass riches. The pope’s appeal to peace went unheard. Again on 28 July 1915 he exhorted all to end the conflict and to make peace.

Unable toymaker peace, the pope concentrated on charity work. He converted the church’s organization to the relief of suffering and the minimizing of the hardships attendant upon the war. He sent alms to help those areas devastated by the war. In December 1914 the pope set up a Prisoners of War bureau in the Vatican. This office obtained the lists of the missing soldiers and informed the missing men’s families. Arrangements were made through the bureau for communication between prisoners and their families.

Benedict XV also offered to mediate peace between the belligerents. On 1 August 1917 he invited all to agree upon his seven peace points:

1. The moral force of right should replace the material force of arms.

2. Simultaneous and reciprocal disarmament.

3. Acceptance of arbitration with proper sanctions to punish nations that did not abide by the decisions.

4. Freedom of the seas.

5. A general and reciprocal condonation as regards damages and cost of the war.

6. The reciprocal restitution of territory.

7. The promise to examine territorial disputes in a conciliatory spirit and taking into account the aspirations of the people concerned.

The pope’s note was not even answered. The war continued more than a year later. Then the peace was signed at Versailles, but Papacy was excluded from the negotiations.  It was at the request of Italian government which, afraid that Vatican would bring up the Roman question and place it on the agenda for discussion.

After the peace of Versailles, Pope Benedict wrote his encyclical Pacem Dei Munus expressing his joy and pointing out that there can be no lasting peace unless there be a return of mutual charity to appease hate and banish enemity. He stated explicitly that Christian peace alone can work a reconciliation that will be just and lasting. He promised Church’s full support to the Leagge of Nations.

The neutral policy of Benedict was appreciated by all. It resulted in a number of steps in various countries toward reconciling the church and the government. Meanwhile Holy See’s diplomatic prestige had increased. England appointed an ambassador to Vatican in 1914, Holland in 1916, and France in 1920. Political persons visited the pope. A statue of pope was erected in Constantinople. Its inscription reads: “To the great pope of world tragedy, Benedict XV, a benefactor of peoples without distinction of nationality or religion, the East, in token of gratitude 1914-1919. He died on 22 January 1922 at the age of 68.

Pius XI (1922-1939)

            On 6 February 1922 the cardinal archbishop Of Milan Ambrose Damian Achille Ratti, was elected pope. He took the name Pius XI. Achille Ratti was born in Desio near Monza on 31 May 1857. He was ordained priest on 20 December 1879. From 1882 to 1886 he was professor in Milan Seminary, prefect of Ambrosian Library from 1888 to 1907, then prefect of Vatican library. In 1918 he was appointed apostolic visitor and nucio to Poland and in 1921 he was named archbishop of Milan and cardinal. He had doctorate in Canon Law and Philosophy. He was a strong man with keen intelligence and universal interest. He had vast encyclopedic knowledge of the modern world.

            Pius XI was a compromising candidate. Cardinals Lafontaine of Venice and Gasparri were the candidates. In the 14th ballot Ratti obtained 42 votes out of 53. He took the motto “Pax Christi in Regno Christi”. He was the scholarly pope since Benedict XIV (1740-58). He had considerable knowledge of languages and acquaintance with modern scientific investigation. Re was pious and active in pastoral care. As nuncio he acquired experience of ecclesiastical politics. He had excellent health, had a regular walk in Vatican garden.

“Life in action” was one of his maxims. Another one was: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can today”. It seems that he was born to command. He had a strong consciousness of authority. His model was St. Ambrose. He used to say “Laws are to be observed, not to be dispensed with”. He was strongly against nepotism. He received his relatives in the official reception hall. The first blessing of the pope from the external loggia shows a move toward a solution of the Roman question.

Pius XI and the Room question

The Roman question was settled in 1929. It was largely the, personal work of Pius XI. It ended the 59 years of anomalous existence the church had endured since 1870.

In October 1922 Fascism under the leadership of Benito Mussolini seized the power in Italy and soon eliminated all other parties. Fascism- from the word fasci or clubs – was organised by Mussolini in the industrial centers. Its members wore black shirts and had as their symbol the fasces or bundles of rods enclosing a battle axe and saluted Mussolini as il duce with outstretched hand in Roman manner – took a friendly attitude toward the church which it considered primarily of course as an element Of natural culture. Religion instruction again became obligatory in the elementary schools; clerics were granted exemption from military service, military chaplains were appointed; the crucifix was returned to a place of honour in the schools, hospitals and law courts; churches and cloisters, that had been seized were given back, catholic holidays were acknowledged by law. Mussolini fully recognized the immense importance of a settlement of the differences with papacy. So he was very anxious to settle the Roman question. He wanted the full support of all Italians and he knew that this was impossible until the church officially accepted the loss of Rome and Italy recognized the papacy as a sovereign state. He believed that he could identify Catholicism and Italian nationalism to enhance his own power and prestige. Since Italian people is almost totally catholic, he explained, and Catholicism is the ancient glory and tradition of Italy, the state which is the judicial organization of the Italian nation, the representative of its spirit and the heir of its traditions, is not and can not be aught but catholic”.

Pius XI on his part intimated at the beginning of his pontificate that the church would accept much lose than the city of Rome and she recognized the unification of Italy as an accomplished fact. He explained that he needed only a little corner of the earth. In his first blessing he expressed his desire to negotiate with Italy. Then in his first encyclical he invited the Italian government to settle the question.

            Informal negotiations were begun in August 1926. Francesco Paccelli, brother of Pius Pius XII, represented the Holy See, Dominico Barone, the Italian government. Both had 110 conversations. And they prepared a draft treaty in April 1927. Then the last stages of negotiations were carried on by Mussolini and Cardinal Gasparri. Finally after two and half years of negotiations on 11 February 1929 was concluded the Lateran Treaty.

This treaty has three parts: 1. The treaty proper, 2. A financial settlement, 3. A concordat.

1. The Treaty proper. It is a bilateral settlement. Pope’s sovereignty was recognized by Italy. It created Vatican City, a sovereign state governed by pope. It has 108 acres. It declared the person of the pope sacred and inviolable and acknowledged his right to send and receive diplomatic embassies. The pope, on his side, recognized the kingdom of Italy with Rome as its capital. The treaty also provided for the extra territoriality and immunity of many buildings outside Vatican City including the major Roman basilicas (Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul) the palaces of various Roman congregations and papal summer residence at Castel Gondolfo. It also recognized the cardinals as princes of the Church.

2. The financial settlement. The treaty also made a financial settlement. The state had seized tremendous amount of church property since 1870. Italy promised to pay the pope 1750 million Lire for the loss.

3. A concordat. The treaty included a concordat between the Holy See and the Italian government. It established the catholic religion as the state religion of Italy. It granted to the bishops full freedom in the exercise of their pastoral office, it placed Christian marriage, Christian schools and religious societies under the protection of the state. The state promised to recognize the holydays established by the church. The church, on her part, promised to recite liturgical prayers for the king of Italy and the Italian nation.

The Lateran treaty was a great achievement of pope Pius XI. It brought to the foreground the religious and pastoral functions of the papacy and pushed into background its worldly and political interests.

Pius XI and the Concordats

Pius XI believed that the church could effect a contribution to the consolidation of the new political situations and to the peaceful and cultural development of Europe. Therefore he entered into general concordats with various European powers. In this work he was supported by his Secretary of the State Cardinal Gasparri (+1934) and his successor Eugenio Paccelli. Pius XI concluded concordats with Latvia (1922.), Bavaria (1924), Poland (1925), Lithuania (1927), Romania (1927) Prussia (1929) Italy (1929). Baden (1932), Austria (1933), Germany (1933), Yugoslavia (1935- not ratified). So his pontificate can be called a new era of concordats.

The results of the concordats

1. The church obtained legal autonomy and freedom from secular rulers.

2. Provision is made for the nomination of bishops. Pope is free to nominate anyone he wishes and submits his name to government to make sure he is not politically a persona non-grata.

3. Freedom to exercise public worship, recognition of right of the church to promulgate laws binding on all Catholics.

4. Full freedom for communication between Holy See and bishops in the country, between bishops and their faithful.

5. Ecclesiastical organizations obtained official recognition and legal right to acquire and manage property. These organizations are recognized as corporate persons.

6. Freedom for religious orders to operate as cooperate entities within the country.

7. Special status of ecclesiastics according to the canon law was accepted: clerics are free from military service and from duties and public offices that are unbecoming to clerical status.

8. Some measure of the state support for the church in return for property confiscated in days gone by.

9. Various arrangements are made for matters that are a concern to both church and state eg. Education, marriage etc.

10. The concordat guaranteed the church the right to follow its divinely appointed mission freely in return the church recognized the legitimacy of certain political and social interests of the state as education.

Pius XI and fascism

Fascism was a source of trouble to Pius XI almost from the beginning. Certain accomplishments of the fascist government for eg, suppression of secret societies, its protest against materialism etc. deserved to be applauded, but fascist violence could never be condoned. Its doctrine of the state was a modern form of idolatry. Against this Pius XI said; “It is not the function of the state to absorb, to swallow up, to annihilate the individual and the family. This would be absurd, contrary to the nature of things, for the family existed before the state, as it existed before the society”.

            In 1930 and 1931 Mussolini conducted an insulting campaign against papacy and catholic action groups. Therefore on 5 July It 1931, the pope wrote the indignant and strong encyclical “Non abbiamo bisggno”. In it the pope described fascism as an ideology which openly resolves itself into a true, real pagan worship of the state. Then Mussolini withdrew the decrees against the catholic action and never dared to declare open war against Vatican and the church.

Pius II and Nazism

            In Germany the church was persecuted by Nazism under Hitler. Pius XI condemned the doctrine of Nazism and its terrorist activities. In France there was an ultranationalist movement called L’action Francaise which aimed at the restoration of monarchy.  Its activities were anticlerical.  Pius XI condemned it in 1927. In Spain the Revolution of 1931 overthrew the royal rule and passed several antireligious and anticlerical laws. The church’s legal rights were abolished, the ecclesiastical property was put under the state control, the religious instruction was excluded from education and provision was made for the suppression of religious orders. Churches were burned, priests murdered, nuns outraged and slain by the radicals. The government watched passively. On 3 June 1933 the pope condemned this anticlerical legislation. Pius XI and Catholic Action

Pius XI realized that the priests cannot by themselves adequately perform their apostolate in the modern world and that they need the help of laity. He defined catholic action as the participation of the laity in the work of hierarchy.  He reminded the laymen of their obligation and duty to preach the gospel to all people. Catholic action groups are formed to spread gospel. Its aim was to create a sacred militia that would bring true, spiritual and moral principles to bear on the problems of the time. Catholic action stands above and beyond all party politics for it aims at the common good of the souls rather that at the welfare of particular bodies. The members of catholic action are always to remain under the bishops’ authority and subject to their jurisdiction. Pope obtained legal recognition of catholic action groups in many countries. Thus different youth groups developed in Europe.

Other activities of Pius X1

Pius XI was able to take the lead in every field of ecclesiastical and religious life and to reveal to all the world the eminent mission of the apostolic see. In line with his motto in 1925 he introduced the feast of Christ the King together with the consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He presided over many canonizations: St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Mary Vianney, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. John Bosco, St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More etc. In impressive encyclicals he gave clear instructions for the defense of human dignity and Christian personality. Thus in the encyclicals “Divini illius magistri (1929) and Casti connubi (1930) he demanded support for christian education and christian marriage against the modern errors and abuses. On the 40th anniversary of the encyclical of Leo XIII Rerum Novarum, he issued a new and most important encyclical Quadragessimo anno (1931). It gives an outline of a reasonable social order. It reiterates the basic principles of rerum novarum and brings their application up to date. Within a few years Q.A. was known throughout the world, and many of its principles became commonplace among the sociologists and economists.

Main points of Quadragessimo anno.

-the church had the right and duty of exerting its authority in social and economic matters.

-pope points out the errors of socialism and communism on the one hand and rugged individualism on the other.

-pope established the right of private property which has a social character and cannot be employed against the common welfare.

-pope insists that ownership of property entails obligations as well as rights. He lists e rights and unjust claims of capital and labour.

-he dwells on the reconstruction of the social order on the basis of vocational groups and respects for the principles of subsidiarity.

The other encyclicals of Pius XI are:

            Ron abbiamo bisogno– a powerful protest against fascism. In this the pope accused Italian government of attempting to monopolize all the young from the tenderest years up to manhood and womanhood.

            Mit brennender sorge- a more incisive indictment of Nazism. Pope denounced the neopagan exaltation of race and blood.

            Divini Redemptoris– a denunciation of atheistic communism.

            Divini illius magistri- a classic statement of the catholic theory of education. Pope says: “there can be no ideally perfect education that is not a christian education for sound education must take into consideration man’s final goal in life. It must deal with the whole man.

            Casti connubi- the pope states the traditional catholic doctrine on marriage.

1922- Celebrated tercentenary of Propaganda

1922- Authorized the transfer of the headquarters of Propaganda from France to Rome, and placed it more directly under papal supervision.

1923- Institution of Syro-Malabar hierarchy.

1923- First indigenous bishop in India for Latin rite, Tuticorir

1924- Cardinals -New York and Chicago.

1925- Jubilee year, instituted the solemnity of Christ king missionary exposition and founding of a missionary and theological museum in Lateran.

1926- Officiated at the consecration of six Chinese bishops in St. Peter’s.

1929- Extraordinary Jubilee on the occasion of the golden Jubilee of the pope.

1930- Cardinal -Rio do Janeiro.

20 Sept. reunion of Jacobites in Kerala.

1931- Jubilee of council of Ephesus.

1932- 11 June institution of Syro-Malankara hierarchy.

1933-34- Jubilee of Incarnation and redemption of Christ.

1935- Cardinals Buenos Aires, pat. of Antioch.

1936- Foundation of the academy of science.

The pontificate of Pius XI was a fruitful period. The missions were solidly organized and the church began to spread outside Europe. Internally also the church grew greater and stronger. Pius XI also did all he could to facilitate the reunion of the Eastern Churches. The Oriental Institute in Rome was given strong papal support. The pope ordered that all seminaries institute course dealing with the Eastern Church to help to do away with the mutual ignorance and scorn, which have perpetuated the schism. He published his encyclical “Rerun Orientalium” of 1928 on this question.

Pope Pius XI died on 10 February 1939 after 11 years in papacy. At his death the New York Times wrote: “He was a man of ample and various gifts, a humanist, a quiet scholar… a singularly able administrator, a lover of antiquity, his settlement of the Roman question will always be memorable…”

Pius XI made his little domain – larger he would not have -a centre of freedom and of the defense of religion against the new cult of worship of the state. In this defense he was as brave as he was wise. The free men and women whose battle he fought will not forget him”. Pius XI wanted all to bring all into the kingdom of God. The institution of Archaeological Institute in Rome and instruction to the bishops to preserve existing archives show his love for antiquity. He instituted a historical section for completing of the process of beatification and canonization as a part of the congregation for the Rites.

Pope Plus III (1939 1258)

On 2 March 1939 Cardinal Eugenio Paccelli was elected pope. The conclave lasted but one day. He took the name Pius XII

Eugenio Pacelli was a Roman by birth. He was born on 2 March 1876, He attended the state secondary school Visconti and, after finishing these, he pursued philosophy at the Gregoriana from 1804 to 1899, while he was a member of Collegio Capranica. He studied theology at Sant Appollinare as an extern, but at the same time for an entire year he heard lectures at the state university of Sapienza. He was ordained to the priesthood on 2 April 1899 by the cardinal vicar of Rome in the latter’s private chapel.

After the completion of legal studies at Sant’Appollinare (1899-1902), Pacelli entered the congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs as a minutante in 1904. Pacelli became its undersecretary in 1911 and secretary of the congregation in 1914. From 1909 to 1914 he was also teaching at The Academia dei Nobili and performing pastoral work as confessor, preacher and lecturer.

In 20 April 1917 Pacelli was appointed nuncio in Germany. Benedict XV himself ordained him as archbishop of Sardes on 13 May 1917 in the Sistine chapel. After the overthrow of the monarchy, Pacelli was on 22 June 1920 made the first nuncio to the German Republic. In 1925 he moved to Berlin. He was qualified as the most skilful diplomat of the Curia.

            He was recalled to Rome and on 16 December he was created Cardinal. On 7 February he became Gasparri’s successor as secretary of state. He became known to the universal church through legations to Buenos Eires in 1934, Lourdes and Lisieux in 1935 and 1937 respectively, and Budapest in 1938. In 1936 he visited the United States in a private capacity.

            Pacelli spoke a variety of languages. Though he had no experience as the administrator of a diocese, he had a long experience in dealing with men. He had a high intelligence, a combination of charm and dignity in public and private address. He was ascetic and religious and had great devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary. He consecrated human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1946 and defined the Assumption of Mary in 1950. When he was in the curia he used to hear confession in a parish and teach catechism. He had a sense of duty and sought to make the church more Catholic.

Pius XII was the man of the hour He possessed the diplomatic skill and experience of Leo XIII and Benedict XV. He was deeply religious like Pius X. He was a teacher on the model of Pius XI. He added sensitivity to changing social and economic conditions.

The beginning of the Pontificate of Pius XII was overshadowed by the impending outbreak of the World War II. Pius XII worked and prayed incessantly to avert the outbreak of the conflict.

The three main concerns of Pius XII were:

1. Peace

2. Protection of Church’s rights throughout the world

3. Adaptation to changing conditions in the world

1. Peace efforts of Pius XII

Peace was a great concern for Pius XII. He worked a programme for a true, just and lasting peace. In the first months of his pontificate he tried desperately to prevent war. He prayed and pleaded for peace. He also employed church’s world wide organization to relieve suffering caused by the war.

            Before the war the pope launched a crusade of prayer to Bl. Virgin Mary and to Sacred Heart of Jesus to prevent the war. He also made a direct appeal to the leaders of the nations, for eg. the radio message of August 24 said: “nothing is lost with peace, all may be lost with war”. In spite of his appeals and peace efforts, the pope hurried I. diplomatic efforts to reconcile the great powers. He proposed to hold an international conference to settle the German -Polish and French-Italian disputes, but it was turned down. (The Germans invaded Poland on l Sept.1939).

At the outbreak of war Pius XII published his first encyclical “Summi Pontificatue” on 27 Oct 1939 –analyzing the dangers that confront the church and the pressing problems of modern time. He asked: “what age has been for all its technical and purely civic progress, more tormented than ours by spiritual emptiness and deep-felt interior poverty”.

            The pope points out two principal errors that lie at the source of all troubles: 1. the denial or forgetfulness of the unity of the human race, 2. the divorce of civil auth it from dependence on God. From these derive nationalism and totalitarian state which denies human, family and even divine rights. The pope stressed the role of the church and her obligation to build up a new world order based on the truth. In the hour of darkness of war he was optimistic saying: “God can do all things. He, therefore, exhorted the Catholics to pray for a lasting Peace based on charity and justice.

Pius XII can truly be called a pope of peace. The problem of peace was always nearest his heart. His Christmas eve address on peace constitute the most complete analysis of the nature of peace. Peace is fundamentally a spiritual and moral condition -”a tranquil living together in order” (St. Augustine). Peace is a threefold thing: 1. it is an interior state of soul and condition of mind within each individual, 2. it is a domestic matter within each nation, social peace among the classes within the country, 3. it is a tranquil living together in order by all the various nations of the world.

In his Christmas message of 1939 Pius XII laid down the essential points of international peace:

i. the right to life and independence of all nations

ii. Deliverance from the economic and psychological slavery.

iii. Creation of some international institution to guarantee agreements entered into by the nations of the world.

iv. Satisfying the real needs and just demands of all nations and all minorities.

v. striving by all people and governments to attain justice rather than promoting selfish interests.

Pope said that the mutual distrust and suspicion are the grounds in which the seeds of war are fruitfully cultivated.

According to Pius XII there are certain victories which are preliminary to any lasting peace:

i. victory over the hatred which divides the nation in our day.

ii. Victory over distrust which makes honest understanding among nations impossible.

iii. Victory over the “dismal principle that utility is the foundation and aim of law, that might can create right”.

iv. Victory over conflicts arising from an unbalanced world economy.

v. Victory over nationalistic selfishness.

Pope stressed that lasting peace must be based on justice among the nations and among the classes within nations and that its foremost foundation lays in the principles given to mankind by Christ.

In the Christmas eve message of 1942 pope laid emphasis on the development and perfection of the human person, on the rights of the family, the dignity and prerogatives of labour and the christian concept of the state. In the Christmas eve message of 1944 pope showed that the same democracies, accepting right political principles can solve international problems and promote peace in the world.

The Church and the War

The war interrupted the normal communications within the church. Many priests were forced into armed services; thousands more left their dioceses to serve as chaplains. Several priests were killed. Millions of faithful suffered and millions were found themselves behind the iron curtain.

Pius XII followed two lines of action in regard to the war. He mobilized the church’s resources for relief work and he used his moral prestige and diplomatic service to shorten the war and advocate terms on which a sound peace could be reached.

1. A Pontifical Relief Commission was set up to help the devastated areas of Poland. Then new relief stations were set up as the war spread into other countries. Food, medicine and clothing were passed out by Vatican relief workers to people of all creeds and nationalities.

2. Protection of refugees: After 1943 when the allies began the invasion of Italy the pope found Rome a particularly pressing problem. There were half a million refugees in Rome and Vatican served them meals at the cost of about $7000 a day. The relief centers helped thousands to find a permanent settlement.

3. Looking after the prisoners of war. Vatican looked after the prisoners of war in many countries. Vatican representatives were given free access to the camps of the prisoners everywhere except in the Russian territory. They contacted the prisoners personally and provided them with all possible helps.

4. Information service. Vatican also set up an information service whose aim was to supply information about the missing persons to their relatives. It started with two volunteers and by 1945 it had a staff of 600 full-time volunteers.

5. Appeal for peace. Throughout the war the pope used his office to mitigate the harshness of the war. In 1940 he appealed for a Christmas truce. 24 November 1940 was declared a day of penance and prayer: for those who died, for those who mourned, and that “true peace may unite as brothers all peoples of the holy family’. May of 1941 was made a crusade for peace month; a special prayer was composed by the pope.

Pius XII negotiated with both sides to have Rome declared an open city. But it was not done; Rome was subjected to several severe bombings until it was taken by the American troops.

The loss of the Church

The church suffered serious losses in personnel and property during the war. Three bishops and at least 2000 priests had died or been killed in Poland and 1597 German priests had been killed and similar numbers of religious had lost their lives in the other countries of Europe. Japan had killed many missionaries in China. War damages to the church alone estimated at more than six billion.

The reconstruction of the church

Pius XII began to rebuild the church on a world-wide basis. He increased the number of the cardinals and gave to the College of Cardinals a universal character. The Italians lost the majority. (23/70). On 18 February 1946 he created 33 cardinals.

Russia thwarted the reconstruction works of the church. The church behind the iron curtain was cut off from Rome. 53 millions of the 425 million Catholics in the world are in this church of silence. The Holy See was powerless to offer more than prayers and encouragement to them. The influence and guidance of the pope checked the communist advance in Italy in the years after the war.

Pius XII and adaptation to a changing world

Pius XII was deeply concerned with keeping the church abreast (up-to-date) of the times. As bishop of Rome he took possession of the basilica of St. John of Lateran, the first pope since 1846. In 1939 he visited the king of Italy in Quirinale.

            Pius XII also effected changes in certain aspects of ecclesiastical life. He encouraged the religious congregations to modernize their dress and suggested some reforms to effectively fulfill their duties. In 1952 the superiors of 200 Congregations met in Rome.

Pius XII insisted that the renewal of religious life should be marked by fidelity to the traditional heritage as well as by courage for wise adaptation. He strongly emphasized the obligation not to attack the essentials of religious life and of the particular institute, and not to be unduly influenced by the current views and opinions.

The Roman congregation of the Religious took up the aim of renewal of religious life in accord with the time. In the Holy Year 1950 it convened at Rome an International Congress for male religious. This general Congress discussed the life and cloistral discipline of religious, their formation and apostolic work. Two years later a congress of superioresses General took place at Rome which also treated the question of reform of the institutes. In 1957 the Congregation summoned the second general congress and discussed the theme “the timely renewal of the state of perfection”.

National and international conferences were instituted in various countries to reform the religious life;

1. Union of superiors general for male -1957

2. International union of the superioresses general for female religious -1965

3. Confederation of Latin-American religious 1959, Bogota. On 21 November 1950 the pope published the apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi on nuns. It was followed two days later by the directives for its implementation from the Congregation of Religious. These documents first underscored the inalterability of the contemplative life, the propriety of solemn vows, and the unrenounsable papal enclosure for all nuns. In adaptation to new requirements the rules on the enclosure were modified, namely, by the creation of the so-called little papal enclosure, which permitted a meeting of nuns and outsiders in an area of the enclosure that was intended for work directed to the outside. A high apostolic value was acknowledged in the very life of the nuns and definite works of apostolate were approved in so far as the constitutions provided. These documents also recommended the uniting of autonomous monasteries of nuns into federations so that they could give effective help to one another in this work of renewal.

Pius XII was very much concerned for a good formation of religious, especially of the Priests. On 31 May 1956 he published the apostolic constitution Sedes Saplentiae and it was followed on 7 July by general statutes of the congregation of Religious in the form of directives for its implementation. These documents treated not only the formation of the candidates, but attributed great importance to their education in pastoral theology as good shepherds of souls. One additional year devoted to pastoral introduction and practice and a sort of second novitiate were prescribed. In order to equip the orders of women the Congregation of Religious on 31 May 1955 erected the papal institute Regina Mundi at Rome with a three year course for sisters.

Liturgical reforms

            On the liturgy in 1947 Pius XII published an encyclical Mediator Dei. In this the pope explains the nature and purpose of liturgical services and encourages active participation in them by the faithful. He introduced some significant reforms, including the approval of numerous rituals with vernacular texts and songs, the introduction of a new translation of the psalms, but especially the renewal of the Holy Week and Easter Vigil liturgies. In Mediator Dei the pope made use of the keyword of “active and personal participation”. The liturgy is “the public worship which our redeemer, the Head of the church, gives to the heavenly Father and which the community of believers offers to its Founder and through him to the eternal Father… It displays the total public worship of the Mystical body of Jesus Christ, namely, the Head and his members”. The precept of the Eucharistic fast was greatly mitigated in 1953 and 1957 and thereby the way for the general permission for evening mass was opened. He permitted to use native languages for certain sacraments. The faithful were allowed to receive Holy Communion on Good Friday. Reading of epistle and gospel in the vernacular was permitted.

In 1928 pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus by his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor. He also recommended the devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus as a means of salvation in the encyclical Caritate Christi compulsi of 3 May 1932. Under Pius XII the devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus reached a climax especially in regard to teleology. On 15 May 1956 he published encyclical Haurietis aquas which made clear that the devotion to the Sacred Heart “can look back to an advanced age in the church and has in the Gospels themselves a solid foundation, so that tradition and liturgy clearly favour it”. The reason for this cult which is distinguished as the most effective school of the love of God”, is twofold: the first consists in this, that Christ’s heart, “the noblest part of human nature, is hypostatically united with the person of the divine Word; hence to it must be paid the same worship of adoration by which the church honours the  person of the incarnate Son of God … The second reason results from this that his heart more than all other members of his body, is a natural indication or symbol of his unending love for the human race”.

Marian devotion: Pius XI and Pius XII promoted the Marian devotion. Appearances of Mary at Fatima in 1917, in the Belgian localities of Beauraing in 1932-33, and Banneux in 1933 obtained ecclesiastical approbation. At Fatima Mary demanded especially the praying of the rosary for the peace of the world, the consecration of Russia to her immaculate heart, and communion of reparation on the first Saturday of each month. Pius XII (ordained on 13 May 1917) regarded himself throughout his life as bound to the aims at Fatima in a special way. On 8 December 1942 he consecrated the entire human race to the immaculate Heart of Mary. On 7 July 1952 he dedicated all people of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To spread the aims of Fatima there was established, at the urging of the Canadian bishop Dignan, a “Rosary Crusade”. In 1947 there arose in Vienna, under the Franciscans the Rosary Atonement Crusade.

The Legion of Mary founded by Frank Duff in Dublin in 1921 spread rapidly on all the continents. Then there appeared also the Militia of the Immaculate Conception founded in 1917 by Fr. Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941), the Blue Army of Mar founded in 1947 by Harold von Colgan. Pius XII by his apostolic constitution Bis seculari of 1948 encouraged the lay apostolate of Marian congregations. In 1953 was founded the World Association of Marian Congregations. The Pallotines, the Schonetatt Movement by Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968), Marian sisters, Marian brothers, Schonstatt priests are the agents of the work

In 1931 Pius XI in the encyclical Ingravescentibus malis recommended rosary, with clear allusion to Fascism and communism, in view of the threatening world situation. A series of Marian feasts was introduced:

i. 1931 -feast of the maternity of the Bl. Virgin Mary on 11 October.

ii. 1944 -feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 22 Aug.

iii. 1954 -feast of Mary our Queen on 31 May.

The climax of the papal initiatives came with the proclamation of the dogma of the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven on 1 November 1950. In the dogmatic bull Pius XII stated that Mary who was already a share in the full redemption, is a sign for the mankind, threatened in a secularistic world of materialism; mankind should recognize in Mary that human fulfillment is to be found only in God; it is to be hoped, said the pope, that through the contemplation of the glorious example of Mary there may grow ever stronger the insight into what high value human life has, when it is used to carry out the will of the heavenly Father and to act for the welfare of the fellow man. And it can also be … expected that the truth of Mary’s Assumption may show to all clearly to what noble end we are destined in body and soul. Finally faith in the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven will strengthen faith also in our resurrection and lead to energetic activity” (Munificentissimus Deus).

There was a powerful increase of Marian literature and it reached its climax in the 1950s. Thus between 1948 and 1957 about one thousand titles per year appeared. The theologians treated Mary in the framework of the divine economy of salvation. Thus Mariology was seen in its relations to Christology, ecclesiology and eschatology.

Marian congresses were organized on regional, national and international levels. Further there were formed societies for Marian studies and in 1950 an international Marian Academy was founded. In France the Institut Catholique at Paris received a special chair for Mariology; at Rome Mariological Academy was made a papal academy by John XXIII on 8 December 1959. Pius XII declared Marian Years 1950, 1954, 1958 (centenary of Mary’s appearance at Lourdes).

Pius XII on 18 February 1946 named thirty two cardinals from all parts of the world. Then on 19 January 1953 he internationalized the College of Cardinals by promoting twenty-four cardinals. He canonized thirty-three saints including St. Pius X in 1954.

The encyclicals of Pius XII

Mystici Corporis Christi, 29 June 1943

Divino afflante Spiritu on Holy Scripture, 30 Sept.1943

Sacramentum Ordinis, on 30 November 1947, defined as the essence of the sacrament of orders the invocation of the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hands; the symbolic presentation of chalice and patent do not pertain to it.

Muniticentissimus Deus, on 1 Nov 1950, defined dogma of Assumption of Mary.

Sempiternus Rex, Sept. 1951

Haurietis aquas, 15 May 1956 on devotion to Sacred Heart.

Humani generis, 12 August 1950, accepted theological progress, but warned against the relativization of dogmas and the all too close accommodation to the trends of day

Sedes Sapientiae, 31 May 1956, extended the circle of theological departments of study in accord with the demands of modern pastoral work.

Numerous are the carefully prepared addresses of Pius XII. He spoke on human dignity, formation of conscience, marriage family, mass media, sacraments, ecumenical movement etc.

Mediator Dei, 20 Nov 1947, on liturgy

Christus Dominus, 6 Jan. 1953 on Eucharist.

Provida Mater Ecclesia, 2 Feb.1947, rules for secular institutes.

September 1956 -the first liturgical World congress at Assisi. The pope also issued new decrees on he conclave and the papal election: photographic and radio apparatus could not be brought in, and television speakers and writers could not be employed; one vote over the two thirds majority was needed to elect the pope ( Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis on 8 December 1945). In the constitution Episcopalis consecration is of 30 November 1944 he clarified the role of the two consecrators in Episcopal ordination; in the constitution Spiritus Sancti munera of 14 Aept.1, 1946 the priests were given authorization to administer the sacrament of confirmation in the territory of their parish, to the faithful who as a result of a serious illness are in danger of death. The motu proprio Sacram communionem of 19 March 1957 brought further mitigations of the Eucharistic fast and the extension of the faculty to permit evening mass. The premarital investigations were minutely regulated in 1941. The constitution Exsul Familia of 2 Aug 1952 introduced and exhaustive ordering of the pastoral care of refugees, exiles and emigrants.

Under Pius XII the codification of the canon law of the eastern churches reached its maturity. The following parts were promulgated; on 22 January 1949 the law of marriage; on 6 Jan. 1950 the law of trials, on 9 Feb.1952 the law of religious institutes and of property as well as the stipulating of specified concepts; on 2 June 1957 the constitutional law.

Neutrality of papacy in the world war

Reasons:-neutrality of Benedict XV

– The characteristic of Pius XII. He was a diplomat and an outspoken man of peace.

– The international law. In the Lateran treaty the Holy See had assumed the obligation of holding itself aloof from the properly political problems of international politics.

Pius XII preferred the term “impartiality”. He declared to the cardinal of Munich: “Neutrality could be understood in the sense of a passive indifference, which in a period of war such as this was unbecoming to the head of the church. Impartiality means for us judgment of things in accord with truth and Justice”. He declared that the church “does not have the function of intervening and taking sides in purely earthly affairs. She is a mother. Do not ask a mother to favour or to oppose the part of one or other of her children”.

Pius XII observed the policy of impartiality almost rigoristically. During the war he refrained with difficulty from any explicit condemnation of many aggression of the part of Germany, Italy, Soviet Union and other Allies. He was likewise careful to see that Vatican did not become entangled in any crusade propaganda of one of the warring sides. Even the term “communism” disappeared from the vocabulary of the Holy See.

The war made impossible the communication with the rest of the world. Mussolini withdrew the extraterritoriality of the papal buildings contrary to the Lateran Treaty. The curia continued to function in the Vatican itself. Though there were restrictions and limitations the central authority of the universal church could continue to operate essentially intact and keep contact with its nuncios and the bishops. During the German occupation of Rome in 1943 the pope managed to hidden the papal documents in his palace and microfilm photographs of others sent to Washington in order to save them.

Pius XII was without doubt was the most brilliant Pope. He appeared as the perfect Pontifex. In the most difficult days of war he stayed with his people and had been their single protector. Although he had three Germans in his immediate entourage -the Jesuits Robert Leiber and Augustine Bea, and Ludwig Kaas, the former leader of central party, and his housekeeper Sr. Pasqualina, he was far from favouring Germany or even of pursuing a pro-German policy. After the death of his secretary of state, Maglione, on 22 August 1944, he appointed no successor and governed in direct contact with the heads of the two departments of the secretariat of state, Montine and Tardini.

The pontificate of Pius XII was remarkable. The international prestige of papacy reached a new height under him. The administration of the church was vastly improved; its spiritual Life had grown richer. The homage paid to him on his 80th birthday (2 March 1956), and the deep and universal mourning at his passing proved his greatness. Pius X11 died at Castel Gondolfo on 9 October 1958.

Pope John XXIII (1956-1963)

Angelo Giuseppe Cardinal Roncalli, patriarch of Venice was elected pope on 26 October 1958 after a brief conclave (25-28 Oct). Roncalli was born in Sotto il Montel province of Bergamo) on 25 November 1861, the fourth of fourteen children of the farmer Battista (d.1935) and his wife Marianna Mazzola (d.1939). After attending the minor and major seminaries at Bergamo from 1892 to 1900, he continued his theological studies at the Roman Seminary of Sant’Apollinare from 1901 to 1905, interrupted by one year of military service at Bergamo,”un vero purgatorio” as he wrote to the rector of the seminary. From his professor of church history Benigni, he received the advice “Read little but well”. He took a doctorate in theology on 13 July 1904 and was ordained priest on 10 August 1904. In 1905 he was appointed secretary to the bishop of Bergamo and from October 1906 he also lectured on church history in the seminary and later on petrology and apologetics and edited the ecclesiastical journal La vita diocesana. He also began editing the visitation documents of St. Charles Borromeo. After the death of his bishop Radini Tedeschi, he wrote his biography (1914). During the world war he served as a military chaplain (1915-18). Then he served as the spiritual director of the seminary (1918 20). Then he went to Rome for four years as president of the Italian work of the Propagation of the Faith. On 3 March 1925 he became apostolic visitor in Bulgaria and on 19 March was ordained as titular archbishop of Areopolis and as his motto he selected “obedientia dt pax”, Baronius’s motto.

Roncalli’s stay at Sofia was not so easy. It was a period of “acute, intime sofferense”. After ten years he was, on 24 Nov. 1934, named apostolic delegate in Turkey and Greece and at the same time administrator of the vicariate apostolic of Istanbul. This activity satisfied him: “I feel young in body and mind” he wrote in 1939 in his spiritual diary. On 27 May 1939 he visited the ecumenical patriarch.

On 22 December 1944 Roncalli was made nuncio to France. He was made cardinal on 12 January 1953 and three days later named patriarch of Venice. When he was elected pope at 78, the people thought that he would be a papa il passagio. In fact, he became a pope of aggionrnamento.

Personality of John XXIII

John XXIII had a different temperament and experience of life unlike his predecessor. His temperament was to rejoice in the good and to be slow to rebuke. His experience of life-Sotto il Monte, Bulgaria, Istanbul, Paris -had led him to accept the world as it is and to recognize and try to build upon the good in all men both inside and outside the church. It was his experience among the non-Catholics that nurtured within him the seeds of a new ecumenical attitude which ultimately found expression in the decrees of Vatican Il.

Pope John’s motto was obedientia et pax. He believed in the strict observance of law and his temperament was conservative. This is seen in his life especially in liturgical discipline etc. But he wanted certainly a renewal of the life of the church and especially a new approach on the part of the church to the world outside. But he did not look to any relaxation of the inner discipline of the catholic life.

There is a great intellectual difference between John XXIII and his predecessors. John did not attach much importance to differences of philosophy. When his predecessors had seen implacable the liberals and the communists, whose philosophy, if tolerated, must subvert the church, John XXIII was more inclined to see men and women, of greater or less good will, in error, certainly, but an error which contact might help to correct, or at, least would not tend to harden, as would ostracism and estrangement.

            John’s spirituality was thoroughly traditionally catholic. He frequently read The Imitation of Christ and regularly made the Ignatian exercises. He recited rosary daily, breviary, mass, a half hour’s meditation, weekly confession. His spiritual models were Francis de Sales and Philip Neri and as a pastor, Charles Borromeo. He lived a simple life. I am one of you, he said to the faithful of a Roman suburban community. He himself wanted “to be born poor and to die poor”.

Though John served the Roman curia for a long time, he was no “curialist” but constantly desired to be only a “good shepherd”. On I August 1959 he published an encyclical on the Cur d’Ars, imago sacerdotis.

John XXIII, Pope of “aggiornomento

Aggiornomento means bringing up-to-date. It was an attempt to ensure that the church was fully and sympathetically aware of the changing character of the contemporary world. Pope John disagreed with the attitude of the curia that the world was going further and further astray. In his encyclical Mater et Magistra he made it clear. The world, he insisted, gave great cause of encouragement and hope. The movements among the emergent people of Africa and Asia, for example, for natural independence, were to be welcomed. The wind of change was a wind that brought life. It was colonization that was wrong. It was the duty of the wealthiest nations to assist the poorer, helping them to win their political and economic independence, and moreover, to do so without imposing their own cultural ideas or setting up a new economic control over them. Once the church allowed herself to become identified with the ruling political power, when the ruling power was overthrown, she had to suffer the same fate.

In his programme of aggiornamento pope John was not departing from the teaching of his predecessors, but rather he was building upon the foundation they had laid, bringing their teaching up-to-date in the light of modern developments.

Pope John was more revolutionary that he cared to admit it. This is evident in matters social and political and in his determination to enter into fruitful dialogue with other christians. For him it was high time to recognize the Orthodox and the Protestants not as schismatics or heretics but as fellow workers in the vineyard of the Lord, He was very font of repeating the prayer of the Lord “ut unum sint”. This now attitude or approach was a part of the teaching of the church. It was a turning of the attention of the Catholics towards something that had been neglected. There had been a tendency to warn and censure, but” Pope John’s tendency was to encourage and pursue it dwelling on the positive side.

From his experience pope John understood that the work of renewal must be   begun within the church. He knows that the development of the church was being impeded by over-centralized and ultra-cautious control from the Roman curia. The solution for this -to enable the church to find her own voice- was a general council according to Pope John. “He was a man sent from God whose name was John” (Pat. Athanagoras of Constantinople about Pope John).

Pope John XXIII and Vatican II

The convoking of the II Vatican council was the action of Pope John XXIII. In the presence of the cardinals on 25 January 1959 he announced a Roman diocesan synod and an ecumenical council. He understood the council as the challenge of God, divinum incitamentum, but not in no way was it the implementation of a long prepared plan. There is no evidence that he resumed the project of a general council pondered by Pius XII. He wanted to carray out the will of God to follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Pope John intended to convoke a general council of the Catholic Church, but from the start he expressed his desire for the particlization of the Christians separated from Rome as a first step toward church unity. On the basis of the suggestions collected from the whole catholic world, the pope by his motu proprio Superno Dei nutu of 5 June 1960 introduced the proximate preparation of the council. It determined for the first time the name of the future council: The Second Vatican Council. Then ten preparatory commissions were formed to work out the draft of decrees to be laid before the council.

1. Theological commission -Holy Office

2. The commission for bishops and the governments of dioceses -consistorial congregation

3. The commission for the discipline of clergy and the Christian people -congregation of the council

4. The commission for the discipline of the sacraments

5. The commission for ecclesiastical studies and seminaries

6. The commission for sacred liturgy

7. The commission for the Eastern churches

6. The commission for the Missions

9. The commission for the Apostolate of the laity

After the preparatory work the council was opened on 11 October 1962. 2540 council fathers with the right to vote took part in it. The opening ceremony was very solemn. In his opening talk the pope repeated the conviction that the summoning of the council followed an inspiration from above and to bring to mankind the sacred wealth of tradition in the most effective way, with regard for changed conditions of life and social structures, not to condemn errors but fully to declare the strength of church’s life. This two main aims of the council were: an aggiornamento of the church and the unity of the Christians.

            The events of the first session of the council made it clear that there existed a conservative group of bishops and a progressive majority of bishops.  The first session was also significant. 1. It was the first time that so vast an assembly of bishops from all over the world gathered together (they numbered 2540, Africa- 296, Latin America -600, Far East -100t U.S.A.- 217 etc. 2. The meeting together of these bishops was an event of unique significance. They have faith in common, but had enormous differences of experiences and ideas. What they decide, is going to affect the direction of each policy everywhere. The fathers of the council could acquire a different perspective about Church’s attitude towards the schematics, Protestants and the Communists. The so-called schematics and the Protestants were seen occupying the best seats in St. Peter’s and were provided with the council’s agenda papers. They were received with every mark of respect and affection by Pope John at Vatican. They were pope’s friends.

Many council fathers encountered a twofold challenge. The first one was a challenge to their traditional habit of difference towards the curia, the second a challenge to their traditional attitude towards the enemies of the church. They were invited to think afresh about their own responsibilities which given to them by God, and not by the Vatican. Schemas on liturgy, sources of revelation, communication, christian unity, nature of the church were discussed, but no conclusion was taken on them. In these circumstances the first session was closed on 8 December 1962. Pope exhorted the Fathers to work hard during the interval.

Pope John could not see his brother bishops again when they assembled. The six months after the first session he was fully preoccupied with the urgency of seeking after peace. The dangerous confrontation between America and Russia over Cuba disturbed the peace of the world. Pope John’s passionate appeals for peace had impressed the world. In March 1963 the Balzan peace prize was awarded to him. Soviet representatives were present there. Some of the bishops behind the iron curtain were released. In April 1963 John issued his most famous encyclical Pacem in terris – in which he extended his appeal for peace on earth to all men of good will. It insisted in clear tones, upon the right to religious freedom of all men of upright conscience, It encouraged Catholics to work together with all men of good will for the good of the mankind.

Pope John died on 3 June 1963 offering up his severe final sufferings to obtain abundant blessing for the ecumenical council, for the holy church and for the mankind as whole which yearns for peace.  The whole world loved his transparent goodness.

Paul VI (1963-1978)

The cardinals assembled on 19 June 1963 to elect Pope John’s successor. On the 6th ballot they elected Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, archbishop of Milan who assumed the name Paul VI. The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano observed that Paul VI is “a symbol of ecumenical unity”.

Montini was born on 26 September 1897 at Brescia, Italy. He was ordained priest on 29 May 1920. He was created cardinal on 5 December 1958. He had spent most of his time in Rome. He was in the secretariat of State from 1924-1954. In 1954 he was appointed archbishop of Milan. In that large industrial centre Montini had his first experience of diocesan work. He vigourously undertook a renewal of his archdiocese. He was known for his patient intelligent and a sympathetic work at the Vatican. He was also a strong supporter of Pope John’s intention to summon a general council.

            Pope Paul VI opened the second session of the council on 29 September 1963. He showed a keen interest in the work of the council. The constitution on sacred liturgy was promulgated (4 Dec.63) in this session. It led to the adoption of the vernacular in the Mass, its deeper purpose was no less than to remodel the prayer of the church. The constitution had chapters on:

1. General principles for the restoration and promotion of S.L.

2. The most sacred mystery of the Eucharist.

3. The other sacraments and sacramentals.

4. The divine office.

5. The liturgical year.

6. Sacred music.

7. Sacred art.

            In an essay in response to the Const. on Sacred Liturgy, Prof. Jaroslav J. Pelican of York University says: If the constitution can be translated into action creatively and imaginatively- and that still remains to be seen- it will indeed, as the council Fathers hope, “contribute to the unity of all who believe Christ”. The second session ended on 8 December 1963.

The third session started on 14 September 1964. It passed and promulgated the important document of Vatican II: the constitution on the Church, the decrees on Ecumenism and the Eastern Catholic Churches. It also discussed the documents on religious freedom, the Jews, lay apostolate and the Church in the modern world. The constitution on the Church is considered the most important work of Vatican II. Its purpose is “to unfold more fully to the faithful of the church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission”. It has eight chapters:

1. The mystery of the Church.

2. The people of God.

3. The hierarchical structure of the church with special reference to the episcopate- collegiality.

4. The laity.

5. The call of the whole church to holiness.

6. The religious.

7. The eschatological nature of the pilgrim church and her union with the heavenly church.

8. The role of the Bl. Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the mystery of Christ and the church.

The principle of Episcopal collegiality has not in any way diminished the authority of the pope. This college of bishops exists only when the pope is present as its head. This principle has already led to the setting up of national Episcopal conferences. Pope promised to convoke an Episcopal synod to meet at R me and to advise him on policy. Accordingly given bishops’ synods were convoked by Paul VI.

1. 1967 -on the present danger of faith, Canon Law, Seminary, mixed marriage, liturgy.

2.1969 -on Holy See and Episcopal conferences.

3.1971 -on ministerial priesthood, justice in the modern world

4.1974 -on Evangelization.

5.1977 -on Catechism.

The fourth session of the council started on 14 September 1965. The constitution on the Church in the modern world emerged during this session. It reflected the mind of John XXIII. It looked however tentatively, to a new and more positive relationship between the church and the contemporary society and it promised the establishment of an organization to promote the study by Catholics of the special problems of the underdeveloped countries. The matter of birth control was not touched and it was decided to entrust it to a special committee.

The pope and most of the bishops wanted to conclude the council with the fourth session. So the procedures were accelerated and on 8 December 1965 the council was dispersed.

Pope Paul VI had two things to say about the council after its close: 1. He disapproved the attitude of those who wanted to go back to their old ways of doing the religious and moral habits. He also disapproved the attitude of those who wanted to continue to bring into perpetual discussions truths and laws already clarified and established. He says: the true task is to study, understand and apply the councils work. 2. The conciliar renewal was to be measured not so much by the changes in outward usages and rules as but by a shaking off of habits of inertia and an opening of the heart to the truly Christian spirit. The conversion of the heart was what counted.

The pontificate of Pope Paul and the period of Vatican II witnessed a revolution in the life of the church. During these years the whole approach of the Catholics to the vital questions affecting the church changed. A new ecumenical attitude was formed. A new secretariat for Christian unity was set up for this end in view. Pope John was concerned to encourage rather than to condemn. Pope Paul followed the same policy.

The Church after Vatican II

The results of Vatican II are:

1. Great increase of open-mindedness

2. Some sober self-criticism.

3. A new enthusiasm for discussion

4. An enthusiasm for joint action with its own members and other people

5. A new sense of political responsibility-a tolerance and sympathy for political option.

The post conciliar Church has undergone a crisis of authority. The renewal has worked tension and impatience as well as enthusiasm. There is a division between the traditionalist and reformist elements. This is confirmed by Pope Paul’s teaching on birth control, celibacy, his approach to ecumenical movement. Catholic Church is still not a member of the World Council of Churches.

In 1969 a group of leading theologians published in Concilium a declaration that “the freedom of theologians and theology in the service the church regained by Vatican II” must not be lost again”. In the same year cardinal Suenens called for a reappraisal of authority at All levels (in co-responsibility in the church). Paul responded that the attacks on the curia were tantamount to attacks on himself. There are important contributions to the catholic theology on the nature and structure of the church: The Church (1967), Infallible? An enquiry (1971), Fallible? A balance sheet (1972) – Hans Kung, Structural change in the Church (1972) -Karl Rahner.

The papal rulings on birth control and celibacy were issues of major importance. The Humanae Vitae in 1968 provoked a major crisis. The encyclical condemned all forms of contraception except the rythm method on the ground that they were contrary to natural law. The reaction ranged from protest to disappointment.  “It might provoke scandal or even revolt or laughter” (French Jesuit). The pope has won the applause of the future (Spain). There were demonstrations in USA. In Western Europe many priests advised the faithful to practice contraception where in conscience they felt it was right.

The celibacy encyclical sacerdotaliscaelibatus (1967) caused considerable tension within the church. In France and Holland priests left the ministry and many clergy openly disagreed with the ruling. A survey of priests in the USA suggested that the majority were against compulsory celibacy and expected a change in the law. In Italy 40 percent hoped for relaxation of the rule and 15 per cent might marry if allowed to. In 1970 the Dutch pastoral council voted for abolition of the rule. In 1971 the National Federation of priests’ council in the USA voted in favour of abolition. The Congolese bishops and a meeting of European priests in Geneva supported the ordination of married men. The Latin American Bishops’ council called for an abolition of the rule. But pope criticized his opponents for “the moral mediocrity by which they pretend it is natural and logical to break a long premeditated promise”.

Peace efforts of Paul VI

Paul VI made repeated pleas for an ending of the American bombing in Vietnam. He conferred with the leaders of USA, Vietnam, Russia and China. He offered prayers for the peaceful settlements in Northern Ireland and Middle East.

According to Paul VI peace can be achieved only through justice. The elimination of hunger and misery must be the first step towards bringing Christian values and social justice to the developing world. In 1966 he set up a Vatican agency to fight world poverty and 1967 he devoted a major encyclical Populorum Progressio to the welfare of the developing nations. He visited Latin America Africa, Far East and Australia.

In some of countries the church’s work of justice has been handicapped by ultra conservative factions in the hierarchies. In Brasil in 1970 the government accused the bishop of Volta Radonda of subversion activities. When Rome protested the government retaliated by threatening to take actions against archbishop Holder Camera who had recently returned from Europe on ground that he had defamed Brazil. As a result cardinal Rossi stated that “one can not attribute to the government responsibility for isolated acts of torture”. In 1971 he was removed from his post and given a Roman curial appointment. It was a sign that Paul VI disapproved his action -support to the government. In 1969 the hierarchies of Brazil, Peru and Argentina denounced their governments. Fr. Camillo Torres, a revolutionary guerrilla priest said “the only true christian is a revolutionary”. He became a secular martyr. In South Africa the church kept silence about the oppression of the black community.

            Latin America has also originated the major new theology of the decade -the theology of liberation founded by Gustavo Gutierriez. The theology of liberation attempts to reflect on the experience and meaning of the faith based on the commitment to abolish injustice and to build a new society; this theology must be verified by the practice of that commitment, by active effective participation in the struggle which the exploited social classes have undertaken against their oppressors.

            In Spain , too, there are signs that the church is aligning itself with the oppressed. In 1966 a group of Spanish priests accused the hierarchy of compromising with the regime and demanded the implementation of the council’s decrees on religious and political liberty. In 1968 Basque priests were goaled for taking part in May Day demonstrations and in 1970 the bishops called for freedom of assembly and for representative trade unions.

In Rhodesia the bishops’ pastoral “Crisis in conscience” (1970) openly defied the government. They said: “we can not in consideration and will not in practice accept any limitation on our freedom to deal with all people irrespective of race, as members of the one human family”. In South Africa individual Catholics condemned the situation, but the hierarchy kept silence. In USA the priests were gaoled for their opposition to Vietnam War in 1970. In 1972-73 the missionaries revealed to the world the massacre techniques of Portuguese colonialism in Africa.

The catholic approach to ecumenical movement has been cautious. In 1969 Paul VI attended the world council of churches in Geneva. He spoke of it “as a truly blessed encounter, a prophetic movement, dawn of a day to come and yet waited for centuries. In 1967 Paul VI met patriarch Athanagoras, in 1968 archbishop Makarios. Catholic observers attended the World council of Churches in Uppsala. The Christian churches agreed to a mutual recognition of baptism and the catholic ruling on mixed marriages has been relaxed.

The publications of common Bible (1973), first Protestant Catholic Catechism (1975) are important steps in the ecumenical movement. A major contribution to it has been the reform of the liturgy. Simplified vernacular rites have been introduced with a new emphasis on participation and understanding. In the celebration of the Eucharist importance is given to a sense of community and fellowship.

Adult catechism has been given importance and there has been a movement for concretization of the underprivileged masses in Latin America which owes much to the new catholic social awareness. The number of the vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life has fallen, but catholics are expected to be more conscious of the social implications of their faith, and to practice their responsibility. One of the major secular watchwords of the age, ­“truth is concrete”- has been seen in its religious reference too. What looks like a serious crisis may “mark the moment of a new life … for identity consists only on its variability, its continuity only in changing circumstances its permanence in varying outward appearances” (Hans Kung).

Ancient Church History

Ancient Church History

Fr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

i. Definition of history

Aristotle: it is an account of the unchanging past.

Thomas Carlyle It is nothing but the biography of great man.

Voltaire:a picture of crimes and misfortunes,

Beccario:(18th c.) That nation is happiest which is without history.

These definitions either represent a complex picture or a distorted picture.  But a simple definition is that that history is the study of a past. It is the story of mankind depicting what had, happened, why they had happened and the principles, which governed these happenings.  It is the study of events in men’s struggle for progress. 

ii. The characteristics of history

1. History is humanistic. It is fundamentally concerned with human actions.

2. What is important in history is event. Historian has nothing to do with assumption (something, which did not happen).

3. History is concerned with change.  Historians are concerned with change, when, how and why changes take place. 

4. History is time and Place oriented.  Events are noted with reference to date and place.

5. History is scientific.  History is based not only, upon enquiry into evidences of events but also upon a rational analysis of data.

6. History is an independent branch of study.  It; is self-explanatory, for it exists of its own, reflecting upon the human experiences in the past and prompting a better understanding of the present.

iii. The scope and. purpose of history

                 The scope and purpose of history have been looked upon differently from historian to historian and from age to age.  The most satisfactory definition of the purpose of the history is that of Arnold Tonnbee’s.   It is, a search for “light on the nature and destiny of man.  History is any, integrated narrative, description or’ analysis of past events or facts written in a spirit of critical inquiry for, the whole truth).

  1. During the Age of the classical civilization of Greece and Rome, a scientific purpose was imparted to history. It was looked upon as a branch of study m based upon enquiry and analysis.
  2. The medieval Church restricted the purpose of history to the explanation of how the divine will expressed itself in the human actions
  3. In the modern times it was treated as a study of all changes that had taken place in the universe.

Individual historians have given importance to one particular aspect or other of history.

1. Herodotus and Thucydides gave importance to truth and their connection between causes and consequences.

2. Freeman laid emphasis upon the political aspect of history.

3. Karl Marx laid emphasis upon economic factors.

4. Traumas Carlyle: upon the role, of great men.

            All these are interlinked.  So in a limited sense it is a political history, military history and the like. In a broad sense, it is history of the universe, comprising the diverse facets and trends.

iv. History is a Science and an Art

History is a science.  Like science it began to recognize the importance of truth and systematized knowledge.  It is an art for it attempts a realistic interpretation of events and imparts knowledge of intellectual utility.

Certain attributes of history are scientific in character.

i. Like science it deals with nature, for man, the subject of all historical studies, is the greatest work of nature.

ii. History employs scientific method of investigation and aims at the attainment of truth.

iii. History is a social science discussing social relations.  It deals with the conditions of mankind living in social state; it seeks to discover general laws, which governs these conditions and which bring about such developments like progress or decay of civilization or fall of states.

History is not experimental, but science is experimental. History deals with the events that had happened and cannot be repeated.  It is not subject to experimentation.  Science deals with visible objects like leaf, rock light etc.  In science the importance is the observation of laws of regularities. Scientis