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Papal Library

Cum Summi

by Catherine Frakas 17 Mar 2021

Cum Summi Pope Clement XIV Encyclical Proclaiming a Universal Jubilee December 12, 1769 To Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs and Primates Concerning the Universal Jubilee. Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Blessing. When We contemplate Our position and consider the gravity of its burden, We are deeply disturbed both because of the magnitude of the task itself and the weakness of Our resources. We seem to have been called into the depths of the sea from the peace of a quiet life as if from a most safe harbor to rule the bark of blessed Peter, to be shaken by great floods and to be all but submerged by the force of the tempest. Truly this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. It was not because of human counsel but rather by His inscrutable judgment that such a care had been unexpectedly laid upon Us. Therefore, we are buoyed up by a certain hope that He who has chosen Us will, Himself remove Our fear, and infirmity and will hear Us in the depths of the storm. The memory of Peter trembling in the sea and of the Lord reproving his little faith will confirm Us in the same trust. Surely He wishes Us to put aside all doubt about obtaining His help and to act with the hope of His grace, rather than from fear of Our weakness. Therefore, We obey His will, and We hand Ourselves over to His faithfulness and power. For if He has decided to aid Our labors in the present circumstances for the safety of His Church, everyone will surely perceive Him alone as its author and source; hence they will realize that the honor and glory must be given to Him alone. Therefore, We proceed eagerly to undertake this great burden, and We will strive to trust in His powerful help. We will consider no care too great in carrying out our task. 2. When We ponder the nature of Our administration and look to all regions of the Christian world, We behold you in your exalted posts. We are refreshed by your presence; We recognize that you are Our helpers, the custodians of the Lord's flock and laborers in the evangelical vineyard. Therefore at the beginning of Our apostolate, We wish to address you. If We seem in any way to exhort and reprove you, attribute it to Our fear for Ourselves or consider that it comes for Our confidence in your virtue and devotion to Us. 3. First of all, We beseech you never to cease imploring God to strengthen Us. Return Our love for you, and thus join the mutual aid of your prayers with Us so that we may sustain each other. By doing this, you will confirm your unity with Us. For, to be sure, the edifice of the whole church is one, whose foundation was placed by blessed Peter in this See. Many stones are joined for its construction, but all rest on one rock. One is the body of the church, whose head is Christ, and all cohere in it. We vicariously administer His power and preside over others by His will. You and We are the more prominent members of the same body. For, what can happen to individual members which does not affect all or pervade each? Accordingly, whatever concerns you concerns Us, and vice versa. Therefore, together we must all labor for the health and safety of the church, so that, without blemish or strain, it may flourish. With God's help we can accomplish this if each of you is enkindled by as strong a zeal for his flock as possible and if your one concern be to remove from his flock all contagion of evil and pitfalls of error and to strengthen it diligently with all the aids of sound doctrine and holiness. 4. If ever those in charge of the Lord's vineyard should be concerned about the salvation of souls, they must be so in this age especially. For many ideas aimed at weakening religion arise almost daily. When men are enticed by novelty and led on by an eagerness for alien knowledge, they come together more eagerly for this very purpose and more willingly embrace it. Wherefore, We lament that the destruction of souls is propagated more widely each day. Accordingly you must work all the harder and exercise diligence and authority to repel this audacity and insanity which stalks even divine and most holy matters. Be confident that you will accomplish this by simplicity of sound doctrine and by the word of God which penetrates more than any two-edged sword. You will easily be able to contain the attack of enemies and blunt their weapons when in all your sermons you preach and present Jesus Christ crucified. By His own laws and institutions He founded and reenforced this holy city which is His Church. To it he entrusted, as it were, the deposit of faith in Him to be preserved piously and without contamination. He wished it to be the bulwark of His teaching and truth against which the gates of hell would never prevail. We, therefore, the overseers and guardians of this holy city, must preserve the magnificent heritage of Our laws and faith which has been passed down intact to Us; We must transmit it pure and sound to our successors. If We direct all our actions to this norm found in sacred scripture and moreover cling to the footsteps of our ancestors, We will be best equipped to avoid whatever could weaken and destroy the faith of the Christian people and loosen in any way the unity of the Church. 5. Whatever pertains to religious worship, to moral training, to right living can be found in the two fold instrument of scriptures and tradition. From this source we learn the depth of mysteries and the duties of piety, honesty, justice, and humanity. We learn, thus, what we owe to God, to the Church, to our country, our fellow citizens, and all other men. From no other source than these laws of true religion do we recognize more clearly the established rights of citizens and society.

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