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How many days to wait for a Pope?

Here is the list of 

Sede Vacante MMXIII (1)
Past Sede Vacante periods 
1799 – 2005.
1799:  Pius VI – Pius VII ~207 days (longest)
1823:  Pius VII – Leo XII ~39 days
1829:  Leo XII – Pius VIII ~49 days
1830:  Pius VIII – Gregory XVI ~63 days
1846:  Gregory XVI – Pius IX ~15 days
1878:  Pius IX – Leo XIII ~13 days (shortest)
1903:  Leo XIII – Pius X ~15 days
1914:  Pius X – Benedict XV ~14 days
1922:  Benedict XV – Pius XI ~15 days
1939:  Pius XI – Pius XII ~20 days
1958:  Pius XII – John XXIII ~19 days
1963:  John XXIII – Paul VI ~18 days
1978:  Paul VI – John Paul I ~20 days
1978:  John Paul I – John Paul II ~18 days
2005:  John Paul II – Benedict XVI ~17 days
2013:  Benedict XVI –  ~? days

Christ is King.

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations. Pius took as his motto ‘Christ’s peace in Christ’s kingdom’, interpreting it as meaning that the church and Christianity should be active in, and not insulated from, society. 
On 11 December 1925, Pope Pius XI promulgated his encyclical letter Quas primas, on the Kingship of Christ. The encyclical dealt with what the Pope described correctly as “the chief cause of the difficulties under which mankind was labouring.” He explained that the manifold evils in the world are due to the fact that the majority of men have thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives; that Our Lord and His holy law have no place either in private life or in politics; and, as long as individuals and states refuse to submit to the rule of our Saviour, there will be no hope of lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ—Pax Christi in Regno Christi.

Christ the King!

Pope Pius XI: 1876-1958

Why did the Holy Father want to commemorate, by a special feast, a doctrine so uncontroversial? Why was the moment ripe for that particular lesson?

When he was crowned Pope, he insisted on giving his blessing to the world from the balcony of St. Peter’s, a thing no Pope had done since the loss of its temporal power. Even so early, he had made up his mind that the Papacy must come out of its retirement, and make itself felt as a moral force in the world. And he introduced this feast of the Kingship of Christ with the same ideal in view. He saw that the minds of men, of young men especially, all over Europe, would be caught by a wave of conflicting loyalties which would drown the voice of conscience and produce everywhere unscrupulous wars between nations.

The institution of this feast was not a gesture of clericalism against anti-clericalism, still less a gesture of authoritarianism against democracy. It was a gesture of Christian truth against a world which was on the point of going mad with political propaganda; it was to say to the world that the claim of the divine law upon the human conscience comes before anything else.

 

 

Humanae Vitae: Day 14

Unlawful Birth Control Methods

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.  Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (cf. Casti connubii, Pope Pius XI)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

Here we get to the bottom line.  Having explained God’s plan for married love and why man must not interfere with His divine will, Pope Paul VI goes on to reaffirm the Church’s teaching that the use of contraception is always intrinsically evil.  Every martial act must be open to children and no reason can be given – even what might sound like a noble reason – to justify the use of contraception even once.

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

Humanae Vitae: Day 4

This kind of question requires from the teaching authority of the Church a new and deeper reflection on the principles of the moral teaching on marriage—a teaching which is based on the natural law as illuminated and enriched by divine Revelation.

No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, (Popes Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, and John XXIII) that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments (cf. Mt 28:18-19), constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men’s eternal salvation (cf. Mt 7:21).

In carrying out this mandate, the Church has always issued appropriate documents on the nature of marriage, the correct use of conjugal rights, and the duties of spouses. These documents have been more copious in recent times.

First, let’s define some necessary terms:

  • Natural Law: the basic principles of right and wrong that exists in every human person by nature. God created us with these principles in our hearts, and so every human person is capable of knowing these principles.  Pope Leo XIII said, “The natural law is engraved in the soul of every man, because human reason tells him to do good and avoid evil. It has force because it is the voice of a higher reason to which our spirit must submit.”
  • Moral law:  The law given to us by God that says “to do what is good and avoid what is evil” (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 16).  It is our conscience that urges us to follow this law for it will lead us to Heaven.

Some points to notice:

  • The “moral teaching on marriage” is based on natural law.  God teaches us through divine Revelation in the words of Scripture and the teachings of His Church, but the basic principles are known to man naturally.  This includes things such as marriage being between one man and one woman and procreation as the fruit of marriage.  These are common sense things.
  • The Church is competent to speak on matters of marriage and family because Jesus Christ Himself gave the Church His authority to teach.  And because the moral law relates to our salvation, the Church is “the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law”.

Here we get to one of the problems of the day.  There are many, even among Catholics, who don’t see the Church as the authority when it comes to the moral law but only see that Church as one voice among many.  Not to mention that there is also an anti-authoritarian mindset that resides in the modern culture.  We’ve been taught to question and even distrust authority.  People want to trust Jesus but not necessarily the Church that He founded even though it was Jesus who gave the Church His authority.

And so one thing that we have to do help others to see the Church’s role in salvation. What sets the Church apart from “other voices” is that the Church alone has been given her authority by Jesus Christ.  The Church didn’t take it upon herself to teach and interpret moral law.  She was ordained and sent out by God to do so.

So why can the Church answer the questions that the world poses regarding the transmission of life?  Why can the Church declare and teach what is morally good and morally evil?  Because Jesus founded the Church to do just that.

 (Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)