The Nobility: A Particularly Distinguished Order in Human Society—It Will Have Special Accounts to Render to God

July 11, 2013

An application of these rich and solid teachings to the contemporary condition of the nobility may be found in the allocution of John XXIII to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility on January 9, 1960.

The Pontifical Noble Guard pays homage to Pope Pius XII, Christmas 1945. The Pope's Nephew, Prince Giulio Pacelli, is the third guard from the left.

The Pontifical Noble Guard pays homage to Pope Pius XII, Christmas 1945. The Pope’s nephew, Prince Giulio Pacelli, is the third guard from the left.

“The Holy Father is pleased to note that the distinguished audience is a reminder of what human society is as a whole: a multiple variety of elements, each with its own personality and efficiency like flowers in the sunlight, and each worthy of respect and honor, regardless of its importance and size.

“The fact of belonging to a particularly distinguished order of society, however, while requiring due consideration, is a call to its members to give more, as befits those who have received more, and who will one day have to render accounts to God for everything.

Pope Paul VI addressing the Roman Patriciate and Nobility,  Jan. 14, 1964.

“By acting in this manner, you cooperate in the wondrous harmony of the kingdom of Our Lord, with the profound conviction that the things that made the fame of each family in the past must now strengthen its commitment—precisely as dictated by its particular social condition—to the sublime concept of Christian brotherhood and to the exercise of special virtues: sweet and gentle patience, purity of customs, humility, and above all, charity. Only thus will great and undying honor be conferred on individuals!

“And from this it follows that, tomorrow, the young scions of today will bless their fathers and demonstrate that Christian thought has been an ideal inspiration and rule of conduct, generosity, and spiritual beauty.

Pope Paul VI receives the Noble Guard January 7, 1964. Prince Odescalchi Alessandro carries the flag.

Pope Paul VI receives the Noble Guard January 7, 1964. Prince Alessandro Odescalchi carries the flag.

“These same dispositions will serve as comfort even in the face of inevitable misfortunes that are never wanting, since the cross resides in every dwelling, from the humblest country house to the most majestic palace. It is nevertheless quite clear and natural that one must pass through this school of pain, of which Our Lord Jesus Christ is the unequaled Teacher.

“To fortify the most excellent dispositions of those present the Supreme Pontiff imparts his blessing to each and every family, invoking divine assistance especially where there is suffering and greater need. He adds the paternal wish that you should act in such a manner as not to live alla giornata [from day to day] as they say, but should feel and express, in everyday life, thoughts and works in accordance with the Gospel, which has pointed the way along the luminous roads of Christian civilization. He who acts in this way now knows that in the future his name too shall be repeated with respect and admiration.” (1960 allocution to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility.)

Pope John XXIII sedia gestatoria with several Pontifical Guards.

Pope John XXIII in the sedia gestatoria with several Pontifical Guards.

The specific role of the contemporary nobility is remembered by John XXIII in the allocution to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility of January 10, 1963:

“The resolution, expressed on behalf of those present by their authoritative representative, is very reassuring, and its enactment will bring peace, happiness, and blessings.

“He who has received most, he who has risen highest, finds himself in the most propitious conditions for setting good example; each must make his contribution: the poor, the humble, the suffering, as well as those who have received numerous gifts from the Lord and enjoy a situation that brings with it particular and serious responsibilities.” (1963 allocution to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility.)

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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), 46-47.

 

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