Diu Satis - Pope Pius VII - The Papal Library


Diu Satis Encyclical of Pope Pius VII on a Return to Gospel Principles May 15, 1800 To His Venerable Brothers, All Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops in Union and Favor with the Apostolic See. Venerable Brothers, We Give you Greeting and Our Apostolic Blessing. Long enough have We been silent. Two months have already passed, months of anxiety and toil, since God conferred on Us, despite Our weakness, the burden of this high office of guiding the entire Church. It is not so much custom as Our great love for you which impels Us to address you by at least this letter. We could have no sweeter nor so pleasant a task. 2. The particular part of Our duty which is expressed in the words, strengthen your brethren, also urges Us to do so. For at the present turbulent time, as much as ever, Satan has sought after us all in order to sift us as wheat. Still who is so sluggish, so different-minded to Us not to understand fully that Christ does what He said He would do: to pray for Peter that his faith should not fail (1) even in the present grim circumstances. Later ages will be amazed at the wisdom, magnanimity, and firmness of Our predecessor Pius VI. We could wish that We had also inherited his courage which withstood unshaken the blows of every storm and misfortune. 3. Indeed, the famous Martin who long ago won great praise for this See, commends faithfulness and fortitude to Us by his strengthening and defense of the truth and by the endurance of labors and pains. He was driven from his See and from the City, stripped of his rule, his rank, and his entire fortune. As soon as he arrived in any peaceful place, he was forced to move. Despite his advanced age and an illness which prevented his walking, he was banished to a remote land and repeatedly threatened with an even more painful exile. Without the assistance offered by the pious generosity of individuals, he would not have had food for himself and his few attendants. Although he was tempted daily in his weakened and lonely state, he never surrendered his integrity. No deceit could trick, no fear perturb, no promises conquer, no difficulties or dangers break him. His enemies could extract from him no sign which would not prove to all that Peter until this time and forever lives in his successors and exercises judgment as is particularly clear in every age (2) as an excellent writer at the Council of Ephesus says. 4. It is a fact of very great importance, and it should be recalled gratefully, that God conferred death on Pius VI (this expression is better than that He took life from him) at a time when there was no obstacle to duly deciding on his successor. Remember Our fear and suspense when the Cardinals were personally expelled from their sees. Several of them were imprisoned, some hunted for their lives, and many forced to cross the sea in depths of winter, deprived of their possessions—all of them in want and separated from one another by great distances. Since the enemy occupied the roads, they could not correspond with one another nor were they allowed to go anywhere. It was clear that they could never assemble to assist the Church if any misfortune struck down Pius VI who was daily said to be between life and death. 5. Who would have dared at that time, with our affairs assailed and almost destroyed, to hope on the basis of human plans and help for what has actually happened by the special kindness of God? Before he died, Pius VI established the mode of holding the elections of his successors and most of Italy was restored to peace. All arrangements were made for the cardinals to meet in Venice to vote under the protection of Francis, Apostolic King of Hungary, illustrious King of Bohemia, and Emperor-elect of the Romans. 6. From these events men should realize that all attempts to overthrow the House of God are in vain. For this is the Church founded on Peter, Rock, not mer

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