Pius XII: Allocution of January 12, 1950

October 4, 2010

If, dear Sons and Daughters, following the example of Our Predecessors, We are accustomed to welcoming you at the start of the New Year to receive and exchange our good wishes, it is because Our heart, far from obeying worldly considerations or preferences, is moved by feelings of honor and loyalty.  In you We hail the descendants and representatives of families long in the service of the Holy See and the Vicar of Christ, who remained faithful to the Roman Pontificate even when it was exposed to outrages and persecutions.

You find yourselves gathered around Us here today at the dawn of the year marking the division between the two halves of the twentieth century, a Jubilee Year inaugurated with the opening of the Holy Door.

Without doubt, over the course of time the social order has been able to evolve, and its center has shifted.  Public offices, which once were reserved for your class, may now be conferred and exercised on a basis of equality; nevertheless, such a testimonial of grateful remembrance—which must also serve as an impetus for the future—must also command respect and understanding in modern man as well if he wishes to possess just and fair sentiments. You find yourselves gathered around Us here today at the dawn of the year marking the division between the two halves of the twentieth century, a Jubilee Year inaugurated with the opening of the Holy Door.

Considered in itself, the religious ceremony of striking three hammer-blows at the center of the Door has a symbolic value; it is a symbol of the opening of the great forgiveness.

Considered in itself, the religious ceremony of striking three hammer-blows at the center of the Door has a symbolic value; it is a symbol of the opening of the great forgiveness. How then do we explain the vivid impression it made not only on the devoted children of the Church, who are able to fathom its inner meaning, but also on many others outside the Church who seem sensitive only to what can be touched, measured, and translated into numbers?

The symptom of a need for purification and reparation, the desire for reconciliation and peace among men

Ought we to see in it perhaps the presentiment and expectations of a new half-century less fraught with bitterness and disappointment? The symptom of a need for purification and reparation, the desire for reconciliation and peace among men, whom war and social struggles have so divided? How indeed, with our humble and Christian faith, could we not see the hand of God in this so propitious beginning of the great Jubilee?

The power of benediction…will depend in large part upon the greatest possible cooperation of Catholics everywhere, especially through prayer and atonement.

The power of benediction, which the Holy Year is called upon to spread over all humanity, will depend in large part upon the greatest possible cooperation of Catholics everywhere, especially through prayer and atonement. In this regard, however, the faithful of Rome indeed have special duties and responsibilities: Their mode of conduct, their way of living, will this year be particularly visible to the eyes of the Universal Church, as represented by the multitude of pilgrims who will pour into the Eternal City from every part of the globe.

You yourselves, beloved Sons and Daughters, will not lack the opportunities to precede the others and lead them by your good example…

You yourselves, beloved Sons and Daughters, will not lack the opportunities to precede the others and lead them by your good example: by the example of fervor in prayer, of Christian simplicity in lifestyle, of the renunciation of comforts and pleasures, of true penance, of cordial hospitality, of zeal in good works for the humble, the poor, and the suffering, of intrepid strength in the defense of God’s cause.

Moreover, the class to which you belong puts you more easily and more frequently in contact with persons of authority from other countries.

The example…of intrepid strength in the defense of God’s cause.

Do your utmost, in such circumstances, to promote reconciliation and peace among men and among nations.  May the face of this earth at the end of the Holy Year shine more serenely in tranquility and brotherly harmony!

 

With this wish and with all Our heart We give you and your families, especially those far away or sick, Our paternal Apostolic blessing.

Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII (Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, January 12, 1950), pp. 357-358.

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