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|The Scalabrinian Congregations|
The Missionary Fathers and Brothers of St. Charles
The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles
Scalabrini A living voice
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a) THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THE CHURCH
"The Tree of the Crucifix and the Hill of the Vatican "
Do you want to help in the salvation of society? I offer you two supports, both equally indestructible: the Tree of the Crucifix and the Hill of the Vatican.
THE TREE OF THE CRUCIFIX, which in every age gave us the Apostles for the spread of grace and the martyrs as witnesses of the faith. The Tree of the Crucifix, which dispelled the darkness of paganism with its light, gathering into one the dispersed peoples of the world and sanctifying them. The Tree of the Crucifix, which gave wisdom to children, strength to the weak, consolation to the heartbroken, heroism to virgins, resignation to the persecuted and downtrodden, and virtue to all. The Tree of the Crucifix, which recalled humanity to its noble origins and lifted woman from her degradation. The Tree of the Crucifix, which broke the chains of slavery and proclaimed the freedom of God's children to all people. The Tree of the Crucifix, which abolished blood sacrifices and made death itself radiant with the glory of immortality.
THE HILL OF THE VATICAN, where sits the heir of the principality of Peter, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the infallible teacher of the Church, the teacher of all the faithful, the center of Catholic unity, the conqueror of heresies, the foundation of all the Churches ‑- the glorious Leo XIII.
If we are united with the Crucifix, if we are united in mind, heart and spirit with the Pope and do so with courage, without reservations, without hesitation, we will not fail, either in life or in death, to reach our glorious goal; and God will be with us.1
"The Pope is the foundation stone of the Church"
The Pope! He is the most august and most venerable person on earth. He is the successor of the Apostles, the bishop of bishops, the infallible teacher of faith and morals, the final judge of all disputes, the center of Catholic unity, the supreme shepherd of souls, the foundation stone of the Church, the depositary of the sacred keys, the deputy of God. In a word, he is Jesus Christ on earth continuing to teach and rule all believers.
Is the Pope teaching a truth? It is Jesus Christ who is teaching it. Is the Pope giving orders? It is Jesus Christ who is giving orders. Is the Pope condemning? It is Jesus Christ who is condemning. Is the Pope absolving? It is Jesus Christ who is absolving.2
"Who is the Pope?"
Our senses see in him just a man, a man like all other men. But our faith tells us that the Pope is the successor of Peter, Peter himself, I dare say, who continues to live in the person of his successors. Our faith tells us that the Pope has all the jurisdiction and authority which, as head of the Church, Peter himself had: "Peter continues and lives in his successors (...)."
He is the powerful voice that repeats to generation after generation the teachings of the Word made flesh. He is the impregnable rock of the faith, the visible foundation of the mystical Jerusalem, the indestructible stone of the divine edifice, the mouth of the Church, the shepherd of the Catholic flock, the supreme commander of the Christian army, the sovereign of the heavenly kingdom, the key-bearer of the house of God, the vigilant sentry of Israel, the pilot of the ship that knows no shipwreck (...).
There is no Church of Jesus Christ without the Pope. On the other hand, where the Pope is, there the Church is, as St. Ambrose puts it:
Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia ‑- "Where Peter is, there the Church is" ‑- because, in the words of St. Francis de Sales, "the Church and the Pope are one and the same thing (...)."
Who is the Pope? He is the infallible identity card, the touchstone for distinguishing at all times Catholics from heretics and schismatics. He is the center of Christian unity with whom the faithful all over the world must be in agreement. Take away this union with the center and you have confusion, chaos, and disorder (...).
Who is the Pope? He is the source of every priestly and episcopal power having to do with the guidance of souls. He is the instrumental cause creating, conserving, and spreading the Catholic Church. He is, as it were, the heart of the Christian world, the sun that radiates torrents of light and life upon this world (...).
Who is the Pope? More than anything else, he is a father, such a father that, after God, no one is more a father than he: Nemo tam pater. This is this great man's most beautiful title, the title the Pope is most proud of. Shortly before ascending into heaven, Jesus Christ solemnly bequeathed his authority to all the apostles together. But he wanted to bestow the affective and paternal dimension of it to one person especially, and this person was Peter. To all the apostles he said: "With the same authority with which the Father sent me, I send you." But to Peter alone he said: "If you love me, feed my lambs, feed my sheep." Jesus concentrated the love of his paternal authority in Peter so that from Peter, as from a bountiful spring, this love might spread to all the other apostles (...).
We give the Pope the sweet name of Father. We call him "Holy Father," "Most Blessed Father," precisely because he is the living image of Him who is holiness by nature and in whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth has its source.3
"Christ makes Peter the vicar of his love"
Proud of our title ‑- Catholics ‑- we repeat St. Ambrose's beautiful words: "The Church is consecrated in the faith and in the name of Peter". By divine institution, Peter is the visible head of the Church (...). As such, he is endowed immediately and directly with royal dignity and with the graces and prerogatives attached to that dignity. To a person who asked him for the sure way to reach Christ, a martyr
of the early Church answered with one word: "Peter." He meant to say that only Peter can speak the words of truth, life, and salvation to you. Hold on to Peter with unyielding firmness if you want to avoid shipwreck (...).
The Savior made Peter vicar of his love for us. The banner Peter raises is the banner of God. In Peter we will find the blessings of heaven and the marvelous gifts of the holy keys. In him we will find the bond of charity, which unites us with Christ, with God.4
"Through the Pontiff one belongs to the Church; through the Church, to the Son of Mary; through the Son of Mary, to the true God"
The Roman Pontiff is the visible head and visible foundation on which Jesus built the immortal edifice of his Church, which now fills all times and ages. In the Cenacle, which is a figure of the Church, there was Peter, Prince of the Apostles and Vicar of Christ; there was Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Mother of Jesus. All this means that through the Pontiff one belongs to the Church; through the Church, to the Son of Mary; through the Son of Mary, to the true and living God, who gives himself to us through the Holy Spirit and awaits us in heaven where he will be our last end just as he was our first beginning. Without doubt, God, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Catholic Church, and the Roman Pontiff are links in a mysterious chain binding together time and eternity. Woe, woe three times to him who breaks even one of these links.5