Friday, April 15, 2016

My Desk: Honoring Pius XI

A fascinating and sometimes forgotten Pope.

Yours truly has had this image on my desk for years.   

One of five children, he was a quiet librarian, well in his sixties.  Then suddenly, within four years time, he become a diplomat, a nuncio, an archbishop, a cardinal and then the Roman Pontiff.

We need to ask Pius XI to pray for Pope Francis.

Pius XI grew up during a difficult time tainted with Voltairianism and all other sorts of hatreds for and threats to the Catholic Faith.  It only got worse as he got older.  Then he passed away on the eve of the mother of all wars, WWII. 

Pius XI witnessed the ill-informed and ill-disposed majority as it began passing more and more laws harmful to the freedom of the Church, and to society (themselves).  It was an age of revolutionary transition--which is exactly where we find ourselves again today.  A time of painful adjustment when many long-established institutions caved under pressure from the leftist spirit of the age. 

Pius XI studied in Rome for three years (1879 - 1882),  was ordained priest at the Lateran and met Leo XIII.

During that time he lived at the Lombard College, founded by St. Charles Borromeo.  The Lombard College, originally known as the Seminary of St. Ambrose and St. Charles Borromeo, was situated next to the Church of San Carlo Borromeo on the Corso.  I once toured the property and had lunch there.  It is truly lovely.  His first Mass was there, too, in the attached Basilica.   

The world is in flames and meanwhile our leadership is dallying about colluding in this smoke-screen babble about divorced persons committing a sacrilege at the altar -- a discussion which belongs behind closed doors in the aulas of pontifical universities.  This chatter has been an enormous distraction and a scandal to the Church and world.  There is no time to waste.

We need to be about the present business of meeting the overwhelming threats that have completely engulfed us in recent memory, before it is too late: euthanasia, conscience protection for pro-life physicians and pharmacists, unnatural marriage, sex education in schools, divorce, adultery, priests leaving the active ministry soon after ordination, gender ideologies, the porn epidemic, anti-Catholicism in the schools and courts, and any number of other extremely grave and pressing moral threats to the Church and family.

Other giants have gone before us.  Recently in my parish an elderly woman just passed away who was born in Germany in 1931.  She watched as her nation went bonkers.  She was forced to grow up in Hitler's Germany, attending his goofy, leftist schools.  She watched as her entire nation fell to pieces and went up in flames.  She was a faithful pillar of our local parish and community.  A faithful traditional Catholic, I can still see her kneeling in her black Spanish chapel veil.  RIP Elisabeth Maria.  Pray for us!       


  1. They also called him the "Mission Pope" since under his reign missionary activity reached unprecedented heights. He himself consecrated the first Chinese bishops as well as the first Japanese bishop at St. Peter.

  2. His titular see was Lepanto!