Pope Gioacchino Vincenzo Raffaele Luigi Pecci aka Leo XIII
(20.02.1878 – 20.07.1903)
Gioacchino Vincenzo Raffaele Luigi Pecci was elected Pope on February 20, 1878.
Leo XIII wrote more than 20 encyclicals during his more than 15-year pontificate.
Continuing the policy of Pius IX, he condemned Freemasonry, socialism and nihilism.
He also supported the centralization of ecclesiastical authority, including through strengthening the power of the nuncios and the idea of Thomism.
In 1893, he established the feast of the Holy Family, which is celebrated in the octave of Christmas.
Seven years later, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, he dedicated the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Pope Leo XIII devoted great attention to social issues.
He became known as the author of the first and most important social encyclical “Rerum Novarum” in which the principles of Catholic social teaching were presented. This encyclical, published on May 15, 1891, contains views that favor honest pay, workers rights and trade unions.
Leo XIII wrote from 1883 to 1898 the twelve rosary encyclicals.
Add two apostolic letters, one letter to the Vicar of Rome and other smaller documents and a number of rosary speeches that spontaneously appeared in other statements of Leo XIII in the Marian, ascetic and social context, being a sign of the Pope’s deep attachment to Rosary. He himself belonged to the Perpetual Rosary Association, choosing for himself an hour of prayer for the Rosary every first day of the month from 22:00 to 23:00. He was greatly influenced by the Peculiar Secret of the Holy Rosary of Saint Louis Maria Grignion de Montfort, whom he himself beatified.
On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII experienced a special mystical experience.
At the time of thanksgiving, after the Mass, he briefly fell into ecstasy, during which he heard the following dialogue of Satan near the Tabernacle, who, full of anger, shouted in a guttural voice with a gentle voice, Christ:
I can destroy your Church!
You can? Then go ahead and do so.
To do so, I need more time and more power.
How much time? How much power?
75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.
You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.
After this experience, Leo XIII hurried to his office and arranged this prayer to Saint Archangel Michael, who ordered the bishops and priests to say after the Holy Mass:
Sancte Michaele Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperit illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.
Encyclical “Mirae Caritatis” – On the Holy Eucharist
Most abundant, assuredly, are the salutary benefits which are stored up in this most venerable mystery, regarded as a Sacrifice; a Sacrifice which the Church is accordingly wont to offer daily “for the salvation of the whole world.”
Here then is a motive whereby the faithful may bestirred to a devout and earnest endeavour to appease God the avenger of sin, andto win from Him the help which is so needful in these calamitous times. And theyshould see that such blessings are to be sought principally by means of this Sacrifice. For it is only in virtue of the death which Christ suffered that mencan satisfy, and that most abundantly, the demands of God’s justice, and canobtain the plenteous gifts of His clemency.
Encyclical “Satis cognitum” – On the Unity of the Church
The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.
St. Hilary: Christ teaching from the ship signifies that those who are outside the Church can never grasp the divine teaching. For the ship typifies the Church where the word of life is deposited and preached. Those who are outside are like sterile and worthless sand: they cannot comprehend.
Encyclical “Humanum genus” – On Freemasonry
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, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere naturalism.
to use the words of St. Augustine:
men think, or would have it believed, that Christian teaching is not suited to the good of the State; for they wish the State to be founded not on solid virtue, but on the impunity of vice.
Encyclical “Dall’ alto” – On the war declared to the Catholic Church
It will be said that this does not happen in Italy only, but is a system of government which States generally follow.
Without exaggeration, this is the present condition and the future prospect of religion in Italy. To shrink from seeing the gravity of this would be a fatal error. To recognise it as it is, to confront it with evangelical prudence and fortitude, to infer the duties which it imposes on all Catholics, and upon us especially who as Pastors have to watch over them and guide them to salvation, is to enter into the views of Providence, to do a work of wisdom and pastoral zeal.