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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One exemplary Pope on another exemplary Pope whose Feast we celebrate today

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Joyful indeed comes the remembrance, Venerable Brethren, of that great and incomparable man, the Pontiff Gregory, first of the name, whose centenary solemnity, at the close of the thirteenth century since his death, we are about to celebrate. By that God who killeth and maketh alive, who humbleth and exalteth, it was ordained, not, We think, without a special providence, that amid the almost innumerable cares of Our Apostolic ministry, amid all the anxieties which the government of the Universal Church imposes upon Us, amid our pressing solicitude to satisfy as best We may your claims, Venerable Brethren, who have been called to a share in Our Apostolate, and those of all the faithful entrusted to Our care, Our gaze at the beginning of Our Pontificate should be turned at once towards that most holy and illustrious Predecessor of Ours, the honor of the Church and its glory. For Our heart is filled with great confidence in his most powerful intercession with God, and strengthened by the memory of the sublime maxims he inculcated in his lofty office and of the virtues devoutly practiced by him. And since by the force of the former and the fruitfulness of the latter he has left on God's Church a mark so vast, so deep, so lasting, that his contemporaries and posterity have justly given him the name of Great, and today, after all these centuries, the eulogy of his epitaph is still verified: "He lives eternal in every place by his innumerable good works" (Apud Joann. Diac., Vita Greg. iv. 68) it will surely be given, with the help of Divine grace, to all followers of his wonderful example, to fulfill the duties of their own offices, as far as human weakness permits.

Full text-Pius X, Iucunda sane And further Gregory himself calls the Church of Rome: "An old ship woefully shattered; for the waters are entering on all sides, and the joints, buffeted by the daily stress of the storm, are growing rotten and herald shipwreck" (Registrum i., 4 ad Joannem episcop. Constantino.). But the pilot raised up by God had a strong hand, and when placed at the helm succeeding not only in making the port in despite of the raging seas, but in saving the vessel from future storms. Pope Gregory was no abdicator.
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