Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII (born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci; 2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903) was the head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. He was the oldest pope (reigning until the age of 93), with the exception of Pope Benedict XVI as emeritus pope, and had the third-longest confirmed pontificate, behind those of Pius IX (his immediate predecessor) and John Paul II.
He is well known for his intellectualism and his attempts to define the position of the Catholic Church with regard to modern thinking. In his famous 1891 encyclical Rerum novarum, Pope Leo outlined the rights of workers to a fair wage, safe working conditions, and the formation of trade unions, while affirming the rights of property and free enterprise, opposing both socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. He influenced Mariology of the Catholic Church and promoted both the rosary and the scapular.
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- Whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and material, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God's providence, for the benefit of others.
- Rerum novarum (1891), p. 22
- This is a suitable moment for us to exhort especially heads of families to govern their households according to these precepts, and to be solicitous without failing for the right training of theirchildren. The family may be regarded as the cradle of civil society, and it isin great measure within the circle of family life that the destiny of the Statesis fostered. Whence it is that they who would break away from Christian discipline are working to corrupt family life, and to destroy it utterly, rootand branch. From such an unholy purpose they allow not themselves to be turnedaside by the reflection that it cannot, even in any degree, be carried outwithout inflicting cruel outrage on the parents. These hold from nature theirright of training the children to whom they have given birth, with the obligation super-added of shaping and directing the education of their little ones to the end for which God vouch - safed the privilege of transmitting the giftof life. It is, then, incumbent on parents to strain every nerve to ward offsuch an outrage, and to strive manfully to have and to hold exclusive authority to direct the education of their offspring, as is fitting, in a Christian manner, and first and foremost to keep them away from schools where there isrisk of their drinking in the poison of impiety. Where the right education of youth is concerned, no amount of trouble or labor can be undertaken, how greatsoever, but that even greater still may not be called for. In this regard, indeed, there are to be found in many countries Catholics worthy of general admiration, who incur considerable outlay and bestow much zeal in founding schools for the education of youth. It is highly desirable that such noble example may be generously followed, where time and circumstances demand, yet allshould be intimately persuaded that the minds of children are most influenced bythe training they receive at home. If in their early years they find within the walls of their homes the rule of an uprigh tlife and the discipline of Christian virtues, the future welfare of society will in great measure be guaranteed.
- Base trade in human beings carried on in the most barbarous fashion, those who wield power, those who sway empires, those who desire that the rights of nature and humanity be respected, and those who desire the progress of religion, to unite everywhere towards the abolition of this most shameful and most criminal traffic.
- New Africa; an essay on government civilization in new countries, and on the foundation, organization and administration of the Congo Free State, THE ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT, Page 136. Leo XIII. re-echoed the cry of alarm raised by Leopold II of Belgium. in 1876.
- You have truly spoken, Cardinal : since We have been Pope, Our regards have turned towards that disinherited land. Our heart has been touched at the thought of the enormous amount of physical and moral misery that exists there. We have repeatedly urged all those who have power in their hands to put a stop to the hideous traffic called the slave-trade, and to use all and every means to secure that end. And, in as much as the African Continent is the principal scene of this traffic and, as it were, the home of slavery, We recommend all missionaries who there preach the Holy Gospel to devote their whole efforts, their whole life, to this sublime work of redemption. But it is upon you, Cardinal, that We count especially for success.
- The best parent and guardian of liberty amongst men is truth.
- Encyclical: Immortale Dei (1885)
- I well knew your present King’s father and pious mother. I was often admitted to the friendly intimacy of the royal family, and I have held the little Leopold, Duke of Brabant, in my arms. I remember that good Christian, Queen Marie Louise, asking me to give my benediction to her eldest son, then eight or nine years old, so that he might become a good king.
- Pope Leo XIII: His Life And Work, Julien De Narfon, 1923 As King Leopold I belonged to the Protestant religion, the influence acquired by Mgr. Pecci over his Majesty was all the more remarkable. As for Queen Marie Louise, who was a fervent Catholic, she admired the Prelate’s virtues still more than his diplomatic skill.
- Humanun Genus, April 20, 1884.
- The partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
- The constitution and the spirit of the masonic sect were clearly discovered by manifest signs of its actions, by the investigation of its causes, by publication of its laws, and of its rites and commentaries, with the addition often of the personal testimony of those who were in the secret, this apostolic see denounced the sect of the Freemasons, and publicly declared its constitution, as contrary to law and right, to be pernicious no less to Christiandom than to the State; and it forbade any one to enter the society, under the penalties which the Church is wont to inflict upon exceptionally guilty persons.
- The sect of Freemasons grew with a rapidity beyond conception in the course of a century and a half, until it came to be able, by means of fraud or of audacity, to gain such entrance into every rank of the State as to seem to be almost its ruling power.
- There are several organized bodies which, though differing in name, in ceremonial, in form and origin, are nevertheless so bound together by community of purpose and by the similarity of their main opinions, as to make in fact one thing with the sect of the Freemasons, which is a kind of center whence they all go forth, and whither they all return. Now, these no longer show a desire to remain concealed; for they hold their meetings in the daylight and before the public eye, and publish their own newspaper organs; and yet, when thoroughly understood, they are found still to retain the nature and the habits of secret societies. (...) With a fraudulent external appearance, and with a style of simulation which is always the same, the Freemasons, like the Manichees of old, strive, as far as possible, to conceal themselves, and to admit no witnesses but their own members. As a convenient manner of concealment, they assume the character of literary men and scholars associated for purposes of learning. They speak of their zeal for a more cultured refinement, and of their love for the poor; and they declare their one wish to be the amelioration of the condition of the masses, and to share with the largest possible number all the benefits of civil life. Were these purposes aimed at in real truth, they are by no means the whole of their object.
- The masonic sect produces fruits that are pernicious and of the bitterest savour. Their ultimate purpose forces itself into view - namely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas.
- The naturalists and Freemasons, having no faith in those things which we have learned by the revelation of God, deny that our first parents sinned, and consequently think that free will is not at all weakened and inclined to evil.
- The sect of the Freemasons shows itself insolent and proud of its success, and seems as if it would put no bounds to its pertinacity. Its followers, joined together by a wicked compact and by secret counsels, give help one to another, and excite one another to an audacity for evil things.
Prayer to Saint Michael|Prayer to Saint Michael (1888)
- O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven.
- Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and Patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations.
- O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon thy holy name, and as suppliants we implore thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.