Pius XII: On Christians More In Name Than In Fact

CP&S comment: The teachings of the Catholic Church, from the time of the Apostles down to our day and beyond, form the unchanging bulwarks of the Faith. In this meditation taken from an Encyclical that Ven. Pius XII wrote on the brink of World War II (the worst war in the history of mankind) we find his words as relevant today as they were in 1939. May we heed the advice of this wise and humble Pope, becoming true “soldiers of Christ” to fight the heinous enemies of our own time.

“Can there be, Venerable Brethren, a greater or more urgent duty than to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians iii. 8) to the men of our time? Can there be anything nobler than to unfurl the “Ensign of the King” before those who have followed and still follow a false standard, and to win back to the victorious banner of the Cross those who have abandoned it? What heart is not inflamed, is not swept forward to help at the sight of so many brothers and sisters who, misled by error, passion, temptation and prejudice, have strayed away from faith in the true God and have lost contact with the joyful and life-giving message of Christ?

Who among “the Soldiers of Christ” – ecclesiastic or layman – does not feel himself incited and spurred on to a greater vigilance, to a more determined resistance, by the sight of the ever-increasing host of Christ’s enemies; as he perceives the spokesmen of these tendencies deny or in practice neglect the vivifying truths and the values inherent in belief in God and in Christ; as he perceives them wantonly break the Tables of God’s Commandments to substitute other tables and other standards stripped of the ethical content of the Revelation on Sinai, standards in which the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount and of the Cross has no place?

Who could observe without profound grief the tragic harvest of such desertions among those who in days of calm and security were numbered among the followers of Christ, but who – Christians unfortunately more in name than in fact – in the hour that called for endurance, for effort, for suffering, for a stout heart in face of hidden or open persecution, fell victims of cowardice, weakness, uncertainty; who, terror-stricken before the sacrifices entailed by a profession of their Christian Faith, could not steel themselves to drink the bitter chalice awaiting those faithful to Christ?


God can do all things. As well as the happiness and the fortunes of nations, He holds in His hands human counsels and sweetly turns them in whatever direction He wills: even the obstacles are for His Omnipotence means to mould affairs and events and to direct minds and free wills to His all-high purposes.

Pray then, Venerable Brethren, pray without ceasing; pray especially when you offer the Divine Sacrifice of Love. Do you, too, pray, you whose courageous profession of the Faith entails today hard, painful and not rarely, heroic sacrifices; pray you, suffering and agonizing members of the Church, when Jesus comes to console and to heal your pains, and do not forget with the aid of a true spirit of mortification and worthy practice of penance to make your prayers more acceptable in the eyes of Him Who “lifteth up all that fall: and setteth up all that are cast down” (Psalm cxiv. 14), that He in His mercy may shorten the days of trial and that thus the word of the Psalmist may be verified: “Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses” (Psalm cvi. 13).

And you, white legions of children who are so loved and dear to Jesus, when you receive in Holy Communion the Bread of Life, raise up your simple and innocent prayers and unite them with those of the Universal Church. The heart of Jesus, Who loves you, does not resist your suppliant innocence. Pray every one, pray uninterruptedly: “Pray without ceasing” (Thessalonians, v. 10).“

(Ven. Pius XII, Summi pontificatus, 6-8, 112-114)

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7 Responses to Pius XII: On Christians More In Name Than In Fact

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
    To me this is a timely message once again, just as it was back then at the onset of a most horrific war. As stated so well here, those words of “a call to arms spiritually” by the Pope, “Ven. Pius XII wrote on the brink of World War II (the worst war in the history of mankind).” CP&S

    This of course, in these words spoken by the Pontiff back then, apply today so much as they did back then; and even much more now that these highly technical complex times have caused multitudes to stray from the proper path, becoming far too deluded or lost!

    “What heart is not inflamed is not swept forward to help at the sight of so many brothers and sisters who, misled by error, passion, temptation and prejudice, have strayed away from faith in the true God and have lost contact with the joyful and life-giving message of Christ?” CP&S Oh God this is precisely how things are now, as these words speak to us from the past, forewarning us of dire straits ahead; but giving us hope by wisdom now; from this historical perspective!

    The absolute need is in our faces now, to not only seek forgiveness from our Lord and Savior, but, to offer forgiveness to all who have trespassed us; even our enemies; because we never know for sure how dark the days ahead might be or whether this day today will be our last!

    There is no better time than the present to make amends, in order that we may be counted worthy to be delivered from all evil to everlasting life! Amen.
    God bless you.
    Brother in Chris Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III

    “And be forbearing one to another and forgiving one another. But if anyone has an outrage against his neighbor, forgive just as The Messiah has forgiven you,” Colossians 3:13
    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, Matthew 6:14

    “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44

    “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). This is often referred to as the quintessential example of unconditional Christian forgiveness that Jesus Himself said to express the importance of forgiving others, lest we forget He said this as He was being crucified for “all” of our sins and obviously showed the world by holding this up as the great example, by our Great Teacher and Savior; which we should and must emulate if we truly want to be forgiven.
    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be Your name.
    10Your kingdom come,
    Your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11Give us this day our daily bread.
    12And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    The loss of this simplicity is leading many into ideology and factionalism.


  3. Brother Burrito says:

    Hi Jabba!

    Alas these blessed Pope’s words are too easily taken as a battle cry, by the factionalised ‘ideolatrists’, to become more so.

    To me, his words command us to do the opposite: bridge factions, replace ideologies with the Truth about the Great Relationship between God and man, and man and man, CARITAS.


  4. kathleen says:

    I agree with Jabba… the Church’s teachings are being twisted to mean whatever the progressives want them to mean.

    * No, it is not okay to bless same-sex unions. (Sodomy and masturbation are mortal sins)
    * No, men cannot become women and women cannot become men. “Man and woman He created them.” (Transgender theory is a lie.)
    * Abortion is murder. (“Pro-choice” followers allow no “choice” to the unborn baby.)
    * Euthanasia – also called “mercy-killing” is also murder. (It is never “merciful” to kill.)
    * No, those living in adulterous relationships cannot receive holy Communion. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”; Mark 10:9. (Clerics encouraging sacrilege are defying Church doctrine.)
    * “I am the Lord thy God. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Bowing down to idols is a mortal sin, e.g., Pachamama.)
    * The “Church of Nice” is not nice for it leads souls astray. “He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven”; Matthew 5:19. (The fullness of Catholic truth is not being taught or preached for fear of “offending” the faithful. Therefore the grave errors of universalism and relativism abound.)

    If I had time many more examples could be added.
    Yes, the opening address above of the great Pope Pius XII is also shatteringly pertinent for our day. We have an “urgent duty” to become true “soldiers of Christ” (a beautiful metaphor BB if you would understand its real meaning) to fight these evils. The reigning false ideologies are brainwashing many innocents and are part of a plan of those with an anti-Catholic agenda. They are being broadcasted not only in the secular world, but what is much worse, within the Catholic Church too!. You can only “bridge factions” by a faithful adherence to the truth and not fearing to call out the lies for what they are!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    I agree with Jabba… the Church’s teachings are being twisted to mean whatever the progressives want them to mean.

    But kathleen, the extremist trads on the other side plus various other emergent factions are also attempting to remake the Church in their own image.

    The Orthodoxy of the Faith is becoming increasingly hard to avoid being condemned for.


  6. kathleen says:

    What “extremist trads” might those be Jabba? Sedevacantists? The SSPX splinter group under Williamson? Or some other emerging weird faction that most people have probably never even heard about.

    Certainly any group that attempts “to remake the Church in their own image” is of course working for something outside the One True Church. But those on this side of the spectrum are hardly the same threat to Church orthodoxy as the left-leaning progressives on the other side, and to which governments, institutions, Hollywood and Big Tech give their full support. Therefore it is evident that these reach a far larger audience and have a much greater efficiency in undermining the Church’s teachings and traditions.

    Let no one mistake faithful Catholic groups – often derided as Rad Trads – who are not afraid to speak out against Error or Heresy… not even when these proceed from the words or actions of the hierarchy (and who should know better!) for those dissenting factions. We are living in a time of many “St Athanasiuses” who often stand alone against the Prince of the World and his minions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mmvc says:

    My thoughts exactly, Kathleen,… except I couldn’t have expressed them so well!


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