The Popes and The Mediatrix
POPE PIUS X
Ad Diem Illum
The Jubilee of the Definition of the Immaculate Conception
February 2, 1904
ON DECEMBER 7, 1903, Saint Pius X had published a decree concerning the indulgences granted during the jubilee year of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Anyone acquainted with the holy Pontiff knew that he would not let the occasion of so important a celebration pass with such scant attention. This anticipation was speedily fulfilled.
On February 2, 1904, Saint Pius X published his second encyclical letter, Ad Diem Illum, on the golden jubilee of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. Those who knew the tremendous devotion Saint Pius X had for the Blessed Virgin were not at all surprised that he began his encyclical with a tribute of filial love for his heavenly Queen. “Why, Venerable Brethren,” he asks, “can we not rightfully hope that today when we renew the remembrance of the Immaculate Virgin, though separated by half a century, an echo of that holy joy will resound in our souls, and that those magnificent demonstrations of that distant day of faith and love toward the august Mother of God will be repeated? In truth, Our desire for this is inflamed by the devotion, united with supreme gratitude for favors received, which We have always cherished toward the Blessed Virgin.”
First of all, then, this encyclical letter is an act of homage and love that the Father of Christendom offers as a child to his Blessed Mother on her anniversary. That homage and love, moreover, prompted the profound act of gratitude which the Pope offers his Lady by making the jubilee indulgence customarily offered by a newly-elected Pontiff a jubilee indulgence in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. For that reason he writes: “That the gift of heavenly graces may help us more plentifully than usual to combine the imitation of the Most Blessed Virgin with the honors shown her… and that thus We may more easily attain the aim of restoring all things in Christ, We have decreed, after the example of Our Predecessors at the beginning of their pontificates, to grant to the Catholic world an extraordinary indulgence in the form of a Jubilee.”
Devotion to Mary, however, is not the primary purpose of this encyclical. Four short months previously Saint Pius X had made known that “to restore all things in Christ” was the object of his pontificate. Now in this encyclical he would carry that objective a step further. “For Us, the chief reason why the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God should arouse a singular fervor in the Christian people is to restore all things in Christ…. For who does not know that there is no surer or easier way than Mary for uniting all persons with Christ…” He then sets out to explain the reason why Mary is the surest and easiest way to Christ. In that purpose we find the significance of this encyclical, for, although it is written to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Immaculate Conception definition, a great part of it (4-16) concerns the doctrine of Mary, the Mediatrix of All Grace. That, however, is neither so startling nor amazing as would appear at first sight.
Pope Leo XIII had repeatedly referred to Mary as Mediatrix of All Grace in at least three encyclicals. The patristic references to Mary’s mediatory role were ‘during this period a matter of extensive research in many theological quarters. Such interest did not escape the attention of Saint Pius X. Since the encyclical letter is the ordinary vehicle of papal teaching, he used this occasion to teach the role of Mary as Mediatrix of All Grace.
After showing that Mary, since she is the Mother of Christ, is Mother also of the members of Christ (4-8), he brings forth three reasons why Mary is called our Co-Redemptrix. First, she united her sufferings with Christ’s for the salvation of the world. Secondly, she truly offered her Divine Son to our Heavenly Father as she stood beneath the Cross. Finally, she offered her sufferings, especially those experienced during the Passion and the Death of Christ, together with His, for the salvation of the world (9).
From the fact that Mary is our Co-Redemptrix the Pope draws out the doctrine that Mary is our Mediatrix (10). Since she is our Mediatrix, Saint Pius X explains why we should have devotion to her (11-12), illustrating by example how Mary can increase the virtues of all her children (13-20).
Finally he promulgates the Jubilee. (21), granting a plenary indulgence to all the faithful, provided the conditions he lays down be fulfilled (22-26). He concludes with the Apostolic Benediction.
As is immediately evident, this document is no mere pious expression of Marian devotion. Today this encyclical ranks as one of the most emphatic papal documents concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix of All Grace.
Ad Diem Illum
Encyclical Letter of Our Holy Father Pius X to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and Other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See Venerable Brethren, Health and the Apostolic Blessing:
The Jubilee of the Immaculate Conception. I. Within a few months the hands of time will again bring to our minds the recollection of a most happy day. Fifty years ago, Our Predecessor, Pius IX, a Pontiff of most holy memory, surrounded by many Cardinals and Bishops, pronounced and promulgated with the authority of the infallible magisterium as a truth revealed by God that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was free from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her conception. Everyone knows how the faithful throughout the whole world received this promulgation and welcomed it with sentiments of public joy and congratulations. As a matter of fact, no man living today can recall any more universal or more unanimous expression of affection toward the venerable Mother of God or the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Cause for universal joy . Venerable Brethren, although we are separated by half a century from that event, can we not also rightfully hope that if we recall the glory of the Immaculate Virgin today the same holy joy will, like an echo from the past, resound in our souls? Can we not rightfully hope that those previous magnificent demonstrations of faith and love toward the venerable Mother of God will be repeated? We ardently desire to achieve these same effects because of the devotion We have always had for the Blessed Virgin as well as Our deep gratitude to her for the favors We have received. A certain pledge that Our desires will be fulfilled is the ever ready and willing zeal of all Catholics to show their love and honor for the great Mother of God. Moreover, We believe that Our desire is accentuated by the fact that We seem to be able, by a kind of secret instinct, to perceive the fulfillment of these great expectations in a short time. Pius, Our Predecessor, and all the Bishops were of the opinion (surely not without reason) that this holy joy and love and faith toward the venerable Mother of God would result from the solemn promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Favors granted through Mary. 2. Many, however, complain that these effects have not as yet been realized. They make the words of Jeremias their own: “We looked for peace, and no good came; for a time of healing, and behold fear.” 1 Such persons are men of little faith. They neither perceive the designs of God nor evaluate them in the light of truth. Who can number the secret gifts of grace that God has bestowed upon His Church during these fifty years through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin ? If these secret gifts are overlooked, how can one ignore the Vatican Council, which convened at such an appropriate time; or the definition of papal infallibility, which was providentially proclaimed in order to break the onrushing flood of errors; or, finally, that singularly novel devotedness of the faithful from every class and every nation for the Vicar of Christ? Behold, also, the marvelous manifestation of God’s providence during the lengthly Pontificates of Our two Predecessors, Pius and Leo, who ruled the Church with such great holiness during a most turbulent period. Another effect is those wonderful apparitions at Lourdes , where the Virgin showed herself soon after Pius IX proclaimed that by Catholic faith we must believe that Mary was free from the original stain. At that time those immense and magnificent temples to the Immaculate Mother of God were built in which miracles occur daily through the intercession of the Mother of God. These splendid arguments should be enough to shatter the incredulity of our days.
Cause for universal hope. We are the witnesses of all these great benefits God has granted through the loving intercession of the Virgin throughout the fifty years that are now coming to an end. Can we not now hope that “our salvation is nearer than when we came to believe” ? Our hope should be all the firmer today, since experience teaches us that in the plan of divine Providence liberation is close at hand whenever evil reaches a climax. “Her time is near at hand, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet chose out of Israel .” 2 Therefore we have hope that we too shall soon exclaim: “The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked… The whole earth is quiet and still: it is glad and hath rejoiced.” 3
To Christ through Mary. 3. However, Our chief reason, Venerable Brethren, for commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God is the fact that it should enkindle an ardent zeal in the Christian people for restoring all things in Christ. This, you know, was the program We proposed in Our first encyclical letter. Mary is the surest and easiest means for uniting all persons with Christ and obtaining through Him the perfect adoption of sons. In such a way we become holy and immaculate in the sight of God. To Mary it was said: “Blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished.” 4 The promise was that she would conceive and bring forth the Son of God. Consequently, she received in her womb Him Who is by nature Truth Itself in order that, “having been begotten in a new order and a new nativity . . . even though invisible in Himself, He might become visible in our flesh.” 5 Therefore, since the Son of God made Man is “the author and finisher of faith,” we must recognize His Most Holy Mother as the partaker and, as it were, the custodian, of the divine mysteries. We must acknowledge that, after Christ, she is the noblest foundation on which is built the house of faith for all ages.
We receive Christ through Mary. 4. God could most certainly have given us the Redeemer of the human race and the Founder of the Faith in another way than through the Virgin. However, since Divine Providence willed that the God-Man should come to us through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit and bore Him in her womb, we can now receive Christ only from the hands of Mary. For that reason, almost every time Holy Scripture foretells the grace that is to appear among us, the Redeemer of mankind is associated with His Mother. The Lamb Who is the Ruler of the world, will be seen but from the rock of the desert. The flower will spring forth but from the root of Jesse. Adam saw none other than Mary crushing the serpent’s head, and so he dried the tears the curse brought to his eyes. When Noah was enclosed in the ark of salvation, when Abraham was hindered from slaying his son, when Jacob saw the ladder and the angels ascending and descending it, when Moses was dumfounded at the sight of the burning bush, when David danced and sang while escorting the ark of God, when Elias looked at the little cloud rising out of the sea one and all, they were contemplating Mary. Second only to Christ, Mary is seen as the image and truth of prophecies.
Mary is our teacher of Christ . 5. The Virgin, and chiefly she, has opened the way for us to acquire knowledge of Christ. In preference to all others, she alone was united to Jesus for thirty years in the intimacy of domestic life. Who better than His Mother could fathom the wondrous mysteries of the origin and childhood of Christ and, above all, that mystery (which is the beginning and foundation of faith) of the assumption of the human nature? Mary not only preserved and meditated in her heart on the events that occurred at Bethlehem and in the Lord’s Temple at Jerusalem but also shared the very thoughts and secret desires of Christ. Rightly, then, may she be said to have lived the very life of her Son. No one ever knew Christ so profoundly as she knew Him. No one can ever be a more competent guide and teacher in the knowledge of Christ.
Mary is the Dispenser of Christ’s Life . 6. Consequently, as We have already mentioned, no one is better qualified than the Virgin for uniting men with Christ. If, as Christ said, “this is everlasting life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ,” 6 and if the life-giving knowledge of Christ is acquired from Mary, then in like manner we can more easily obtain through Mary the life of which Christ is the source and beginning.
Mary is generous . 7. If we devote only a little time to the many reasons why this Most Holy Mother is most eager to give us these excellent gifts, our hopes will undoubtedly soar to the heights.
Mary is Mother of the physical body of Christ . 8. Is not Mary Christ’s Mother ? Therefore she is also our Mother. Everyone must unhesitatingly believe that Jesus, the Word made flesh, is also the Saviour of the human race. As the God-Man He assumed a body composed like any other man’s body. As Saviour of our race, however. He had a certain spiritual or, as they say, mystical body. This latter is the society of those who believe in Christ. “We, the many, are one body in Christ.” 7 The Virgin conceived the Eternal Son of God not only that He might be made man, assuming His human nature from her, but also in order that He might be the Saviour of men through the nature assumed from her. For this reason the angel said to the shepherds:
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord.” 8 Therefore in the one and same womb of His most chaste Mother Christ simultaneously assumed human flesh and united to Himself a spiritual body composed of those “who are to believe in Him.”
Mary is Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ . It can, therefore, be rightly stated that while Mary was bearing in her womb the Saviour, she also bore all those whose life was contained in the Saviour’s life. All of us, then, who are united with Christ and are, as the Apostle says, “members of his body, made from his flesh and from his bones,” 9 have come forth from the womb of Mary as the body is united to its head. Hence, in a spiritual and mystical sense, we are called the children of Mary and she is our Mother. “The Mother in spirit … but truly the Mother of the members of Christ, who we are.” 10
Mary’s efforts for union. Since the Most Blessed Virgin is both the Mother of God and the Mother of men, she undoubtedly spares no pains to bring it about that Christ, “the head of his body, the Church,” 11 infuse His gifts into us, His members, and, above all, that we might know and “live through him.” 12
Mary is Our Co-Redemptrix . 9. Moreover, the Most Holy Mother of” God had the honor of “having supplied the substance of her flesh to the Only-begotten” Son of God, who was to be born of the human race,” 13 and by this flesh the Victim for the salvation of mankind was prepared. Over and above this, however, she was entrusted with the task of rearing and nourishing this Victim. Finally, at the appointed hour, hers was the task of offering It on the altar. The result was a continuous union of life and labor between the Son and the Mother. Thus the Prophet’s words can be applied with equal merit to both of them: “My life is wasted with grief and my years in sighs.” 14 Finally, when the Son’s last hour arrived, “there stood by the Cross of Jesus his Mother.” She was not merely occupied in contemplating the cruel spectacle. She was also rejoicing that “her Only-begotten Son was being offered for the salvation of the human race. She suffered so much together with Him that, if it had been possible, she would have been more than willing to bear all the torments that her Son suffered.” 15 Through this community of suffering and intention between Christ and Mary “she merited to become in a most noble manner the Reparatrix of the fallen world.” 16 As a result of this, she is the Dispenser of all the gifts that Jesus acquired for us by His death and Blood.
Mary, the Dispenser of Christ’s Gifts. 10. We do not deny that the distribution of these gifts belongs by strict and proper right to Christ. They are the fruit He alone acquired for us by His Death. He is in His own right the Mediator between God and man. However, that community of suffering and sorrow between the Mother and her Son (which We have already described) has merited the venerable Virgin to be “with her Only-begotten Son the most powerful Mediatrix and Conciliatrix of the whole world.” ” Christ, therefore, is the source, “and of his fullness we have all received.” 18 “From him the whole body (being closely joined and knit together through every joint of the system . . .) derives its increase to the building up of itself in love.” 19 Mary, however, as Saint Bernard rightly observes, is “the channel” w or the neck which unites the Body to the Head and through which the Head sends power and a strength into the Body. “For she is the neck of our Head, through which all spiritual gifts are communicated to His Body.” 21 This should make it clear that We are certainly very far from attributing to the Virgin the power of producing supernatural grace. Only God can do that. However, she surpasses all creatures in holiness and in the degree of her union with Christ. She was chosen by Christ to be His associate in the work of human salvation. She has, therefore, merited for us congruously (de congruo), as they say, what Christ has merited for us condignly (de condigno), She is the principal Minister of the graces to be distributed. He has “taken his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” 22 and Mary as Queen stands at His right hand. “She is the safest refuge and the most trustworthy helper of all who are in danger. Under her guidance, patronage, kindness and protection nothing is to be feared or abandoned.” 23
Mary is inseparable from her Son. II. After laying down these principles, let Us now return to Our purpose. We have justly and rightly affirmed that Mary was the constant companion of Jesus from the home in Nazareth to the summit of Calvary ; that she knew better than anyone else the secrets of His heart; that she distributes, by maternal right, the treasures of His merits. Where else, then, can we find a greater or more secure helper in arriving at the knowledge and love of Christ? The wretched condition of those who, either through diabolical deceit or false opinions, boldly refuse the Virgin’s help is a striking proof of that truth. They are miserable and unhappy. Under the pretext of honoring Christ, they neglect Mary. They do not realize that the Child is found only with His Mother Mary.
Celebrations will foster devotion . 12. Surely, Venerable Brethren, you know how true that statement is. Our intention, therefore, is that all these celebrations now being prepared throughout the world for honoring the Most Holy Virgin will especially be directed to that end. The most desirable and pleasing honor we can pay Mary is properly knowing and loving Jesus Christ. Let the faithful, therefore, solemnize this occasion in their churches. Let the cities celebrate and rejoice in these festivities. Such things do much in fostering devotion. However, if the consent of the will does not inspire and accompany these events we shall have mere formalities which are only a semblance of religion. When the Virgin beholds such formalities she can justly employ Christ’s words in rebuking us: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” 24
Mary will teach us obedience . 13. A true devotion to the Mother of God is one that springs from the heart. Thus, bodily actions, if separated from the acts of the soul, are worthless and useless. The united actions of soul and body must strive to make us obedient in all things to Mary’s divine Son. If that love is real which unites wills, our will must certainly be united with the Most Holy Mother’s in this total dedication of ourselves to Christ the Lord. For that reason the Virgin Most Prudent speaks to us today in the same manner she spoke to the servants at the marriage in Cana : “Do whatever he tells you.” 25 Now, Christ’s command is simply this: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” 26 Everyone, then, can be certain that if his devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin does not keep him from sinning and does not inspire him with the desire of abandoning his evil ways, his devotion is deceptive and false since it does not produce in him the effects it should.
Mary herself was obedient. 14. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God clearly confirms this fact in yet another way. We will pass over Catholic tradition, which, as a source of truth, is equal in merit to Sacred Scripture. Still there is the belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary that appears in every age to be so completely in agreement with the Christian sense that it seems to be implanted and innate in the souls of the faithful. Denis the Carthusian gives the reason for this in the following words: “We shrink in horror from even thinking that the Woman who was to crush the head of the Serpent should ever have been crushed by him; that the Mother of the Lord should ever have been the child of the devil.” 27 It is repugnant to the mind of the Christian people even to think that the holy, undefiled and innocent flesh of Christ could have been assumed in the womb of the Virgin from flesh which even for a moment had the slightest stain. The reason for this is simply that God and sin are infinite opposition. Thus Catholics throughout the world have always felt that it was only fitting that the Son of God, “who washed us from our sins in his blood,” before assuming human nature, owed it to Himself to preserve, by a singular grace and privilege, His Virgin Mother free from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her conception.
Mary’s children must be holy. Because God so thoroughly detests sin, He willed that the future Mother of His Son should in no way be subject to any kind of stain. More than that, by a most singular gift granted through the merits of Christ, He preserved her from that hereditary stain which marks all the children of Adam. Everyone, then, who sincerely desires to win Mary’s favor by his homage must amend his sinful and corrupt habits and subdue the passions which turn him toward forbidden things.
Mary reproduces Christ in us. 15. Moreover, if anyone desires (and we all should so desire) to make his devotion to Mary worthy and in every way perfect, he will make progress by trying to imitate her example. God’s law is that anyone desiring to attain eternal happiness must reproduce in his life the image of Christ’s patience and sanctity. “For those whom he has foreknown he has also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he should be the firstborn among many brethren.” 28 Our weakness, however, can all too easily cause us to be frightened by this Exemplar’s majesty. Divine Providence , therefore, has given us another model. This model, who is the Mother of God, is at one and the same time closer to our weakness and also the most perfect reproduction of Christ’s image that can be found in human nature. In this regard Saint Ambrose says: “Mary was of such a nature that her life can teach every one.” Then he rightly concludes:
“Let Mary’s virginity and life be shown to us like a picture, and in it, as in a mirror, we will see the reflection of the beauty of chastity and the loveliness of virtue.” 29
Mary will teach us all virtues. 16. It is no more than right to expect that the children should imitate the virtues of their Most Holy Mother. We especially desire that the faithful cultivate the principal virtues of faith, hope and charity toward God and man those virtues that can be called the nerves and sinews of Christian wisdom. The Virgin was full of the splendor of them throughout her life, but it shone most brilliantly when she stood beside her dying Son. All the while Jesus is being crucified and rebuked by blasphemies “because he has made himself Son of God,” 30 with unshaken constancy she acknowledges and worships His divinity. She lays His dead body in the sepulchre, yet she does not doubt that He will rise again. Moreover, her ardent love for God makes her a sharer and companion of Christ’s sufferings together with Him. Forgetful of her own sorrow, she unites herself with Christ in asking pardon for the very executioners who audaciously cry out: “His blood be on us and on our children.” 31
Mary, Protectress of Authority. On the other hand, if people believe and profess that in the first moment of her conception the Virgin Mary was free from all stain, they must also admit the existence of original sin, the redemption of mankind by Christ, the Gospel, the Church, and even the law of suffering. These truths will root up and destroy any kind of rationalism or materialism that exists. Christian wisdom will then have the honor of being the protector and defender of truth. Over and above this, however, the Faith’s enemies today commonly employ the vice of refusing, and openly refusing, to pay any reverence or obedience to the authority of the Church. In fact, they refuse to respect all human authority, thinking that thereby they can more easily tear the Faith out of men’s hearts. There is the beginning of anarchism, which is the most dangerous threat to both the natural and the supernatural orders. Even this disease, however, which destroys both civil and Christian society, is stamped out by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. This doctrine compels us to recognize that power of the Church which demands intellectual as well as voluntary submission. Because of this intellectual submission the Christian people sing to the Mother of God: “Thou art all fair, 0 Mary, and there is no original stain in thee.” 32 For this reason the Church rightly attributes the destruction of all heresies in the whole world to the venerable Virgin alone.
Mary, Defender of Faith. 18. If, as the Apostle states, faith is nothing but “the substance of things to be hoped for,” 33 everyone will readily admit that the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin confirms our faith and strengthens our hope. This is especially clear when we consider that the Virgin was exempt from original sin because she was to be the Mother of Christ. In such a way the hope of eternal happiness was revived in our souls.
Mary, Teacher of Charity. 19. Besides charity to God, however, contemplation of the Immaculate Virgin arouses in us the desire to keep sacred Christ’s personal command of loving one another as He loved us. The Apostle John speaks of the vision with which God favored him in these words; “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” 34 Everyone knows that this woman was the image of the Virgin Mary, who, in giving birth to our Head, remained inviolate. “And being with child,” the Apostle continues, “she cried out in her travail and was in the anguish of delivery.” 35 John saw the Most Holy Mother of God enjoying beatitude and at the same time travailing in a certain mysterious childbirth. What kind of a birth was this ? It was the birth of all of us who, while being exiles here below, are not yet brought forth into the perfect love of God and eternal happiness. The fact that the heavenly Virgin labors in childbirth shows her loving desire to watch over us and through unceasing prayer complete the number of the elect.
Mary, Guide of the erring. 20. We earnestly desire that everyone in the world who is called a Christian will draw near to this love of the Virgin during this time when we honor the Mother of God in a more solemn manner. The persecution of Christ and the most holy religion He founded is now raging bitterly and fiercely. At this present time, therefore, there is a serious danger that many will be deceived by the increasing number of errors and ultimately abandon the Faith. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” se More than that, let us all humbly beg God through the intercession of the Mother of God that those who have fallen from the path of truth may repent. Experience has taught us that such prayers, when motivated by charity and supplemented by the intercession of the holy Virgin, have never been in vain. The Church will always be attacked, “for there must be factions, so that those who are approved may be made manifest among you.” 37 The Virgin, however, will always assist us in even the most difficult of trials; she will always continue the battle she has been waging ever since her conception. Thus every day we can say: “Today the head of the ancient serpent was crushed by her.” 38
Promulgation of the Jubilee . 21. At the beginning of their pontificates Our Predecessors have customarily granted an extraordinary Jubilee Indulgence. Following their example. We also have decreed that the Catholic world be granted an extraordinary Indulgence in the form of a Jubilee. We have done this, first of all, in order that, by the gift of heavenly graces, we may most abundantly receive the help we need to imitate the Most Blessed Virgin and pay her greater honor (as we shall do especially during this year). In such a way we should be able to attain more easily the goal of restoring all things in Christ.
Conditions of the Jubilee Indulgence. 22. Confiding in the mercy of Almighty God and in the authority of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and in virtue of the power of binding and loosing which, unworthy though We are, the Lord has given Us, We grant a plenary indulgence of all their sins to all the faithful of both sexes who live in this Our beloved city or who make a pilgrimage to it. Furthermore, this can be gained only by those who, from the first Sunday of Lent (February 21) to the feast of Corpus Christi inclusively (June 2), shall visit one of the four patriarchal basilicas three times. There they must spend some time in beseeching God for the liberty and exaltation of the Catholic Church and this Apostolic See, for the wiping out of heresy and the conversion of all who are in error, for the concord of Christian princes and the peace and unity of all the faithful, and for Our Own intention. Within the aforementioned period and outside of the days excluded in the Lenten Indult, they must also fast one day, using only meager fare, and after confessing their sins receive the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. Everyone else living anywhere outside this city, and within the time mentioned above or during a space of three months, even not continuous, to be appointed definitely by the Ordinaries according to the convenience of the faithful, but before December 8, every one of these who shall three times visit the Cathedral church, if there be one, or, if not, the parish church, or, in its absence, the principal church, and shall devoutly fulfill the same works We have already mentioned, shall also be able to gain the Jubilee Indulgence. At the same time We permit this Indulgence, which can be gained only once, to be applicable to the suffering souls who have passed from this life united in charity with God.
The Indulgence for travelers. 23. Moreover, We allow travelers by land or sea to gain the same indulgence immediately on their return home, provided they perform the works already indicated.
Faculties for confessors. 24. We grant confessors, approved by their own Ordinaries, the faculties of commuting the above works enjoined by Us to other works of piety. This concession shall be applicable not only to religious of both sexes, but to anyone who cannot perform the works prescribed. We also grant the faculties to dispense from Communion those children who have not yet been admitted to the sacred Table.
Privilege of selecting any priest. 25. Moreover, each and every one of the faithful, both laity and clergy, diocesan and religious, of all orders and institutes, even those calling for special mention, have Our permission and power, for this purpose only, to select any priest, diocesan or religious, among those actually approved (which faculty may also be used by nuns, novices and other women living in the cloister, provided the confessor they select be one approved for nuns), by whom, when they have confessed to him within the prescribed time with the intention of gaining the present Jubilee Indulgence and of fulfilling all the other requirements, they may be absolved on only this occasion and only in the forum, of conscience from any excommunication, suspension and every other ecclesiastical sentence and censure pronounced or inflected for any cause by law or by a judge, including those reserved to the Ordinary, to Us, or to the Apostolic See, even in cases reserved in a special manner to anybody and to Us and to the Apostolic See. They may also be absolved from all sins or transgressions, even those reserved to the Ordinaries, to Us, or to the Apostolic See, on condition, however, that a salutary penance be enjoined together with the other prescriptions of the law, and, in the case of heresy, after the renunciation and retraction of error, as is required by law. Likewise, such priests may further commute to other pious and salutary works all vows, even those taken under oath and reserved to the Apostolic See (except those of chastity, of religion, and of obligations which have been assumed by third parties). In the case of such penitents, even religious, or those in sacred orders, such confessors may dispense from all secret irregularities contracted solely by violation of censures affecting the exercise of their orders and promotion to higher orders.
Other Indulgences retained. 26. Besides this, We are happy to add that We permit and decree that everyone during this time of Jubilee still has the privilege of gaining all other Indulgences, including plenary Indulgences, which have been granted by Our Predecessors or by Ourselves.
Mary, Cause of our Hope. 27. Before concluding, Venerable Brethren, We wish to mention once more Our great hope, which has to a large extent motivated this work. In granting this extraordinary favor of the Jubilee under the auspices of the Immaculate Virgin, We hope that large numbers of those who are unhappily separated from Jesus Christ will return to Him and that the love of virtue and zeal for religion will be renewed in the hearts of the Christian people. Fifty years ago, when Pius, Our Predecessor, proclaimed that we must hold as an article of faith that the Most Blessed Mother of God was free from all sin, it seemed, as We have already said, that an incredible abundance of grace descended upon the earth. This renewed confidence in the Virgin Mother of God everywhere stimulated the people to the practice of their ancient religion. What is there to stop us from hoping for even greater blessings in the future? We are certainly passing through calamitous times. Well might We make Our Own the Prophet’s lamentation: “For there is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land. Cursing and lying and killing and theft and adultery have overflowed.” 39 Yet in the midst of this deluge of evil the Virgin Most Merciful stands before us like a rainbow. She is the peacemaker between God arid man: “I will set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be the sign of a covenant between me, and between the earth.” 40 Although the storm rages and the sky grows dark as night, let no one be alarmed. “The bow shall be in the clouds and I shall see it, and shall remember the everlasting covenant.” 41 “And there shall no more be waters of a flood to destroy all flesh.” 42 If we trust Mary as we should, especially now when celebrating her Immaculate Conception with greater joy and devotion, we shall come to see even now that she is the Virgin Most Powerful “who with virginal foot crushed the head of the serpent.” 43
Apostolic Blessing. 29. As a pledge of these graces and, lovingly in the Lord, We impart the Apostolic Blessing to you. Venerable Brethren, and to your people.
30. Given at Saint Peter’s, Rome , on the second day of February, 1904, in the first year of Our Pontificate.
REFERENCES: 1. Jer. 8:15.
2. Is. 14:1.
3. Ibid., 14:5,7.
4. Luke 1:45.
5. St. Leo the Great, Serm. 2, De Nativ. Domini, c. 2.
6. John 17:3.
7. Rom. 12:5.
8. Luke 2:11.
9. Eph. 5:30.
10. St. Augustine , De S. Virginitate, c. 6. n. Col. 1:18. –
12. I John 4:9.
13. Venerable Bede, /, iv. In Luc., c. n.
14. Ps. 30:11.
15. St. Bonaventure, / Sent. d. 48, ad Lift. dub,, 4.
16. Eadmerus, De Excellentia Virg. Ma-nae, c. 9.
17. Pius IX, bull Ineffabilis Dei.
18. John 1:16.
19. Ephes. 4:16.
20. St. Bernard, Serm. de temp; in Nativ. B.M., De Aquaeductu, n. 4.
21. St. Bernardine of Siena , Quadrag. De Evangelic) aeterno, Serm. 1, a. 3, c. 3.
22. Heb. 1:3.
23. Pius IX, bull Ineffabilis Dei.
24. Matt. 15:8.
25. John 2:5.
26. Matt. 19:17.
27. Denis the Carthusian, 3 Sent. d. 3, q. i.
28. Rom. 8:29.
29. St. Ambrose, De Virginibus, I. 2, c. 2.
30. John 19:7.
31. Matt. 27:25.
32. Gradual of the Mass of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
33. Heb. 11:1.
34. Apoc. 12:1.
35. Apoc. 12:2.
36. I Cor. 10:12.
37. I Cor. 11:19.
38. Magnificat Antiphon of the Office of the Immaculate Conception.
39. Osee 4:1-2.
40. Gen. 9:13.
41. Gen. 9:16.
42. Gen. 9:15.
43. Office of the Immaculate Conception. SOURCE:
ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
Encyclicals and Selected Documents of Saint Pius X
Edited by Vincent A. Yzermans
The Newman Press, 1954