Christ is the builder and Savior of His Mystical Body

From Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi (1943):

In the course of the present study, Venerable Brethren, we have thus far seen that the Church is so constituted that it may be likened to a body. We must now explain clearly and precisely why it is to be called not merely a body, but the Body of Jesus Christ. This follows from the fact that our Lord is the Founder, the Head, the Support and the Savior of this Mystical Body.

As We set out briefly to expound in what sense Christ founded His social Body, the following thought of Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, occurs to Us at once: “The Church which, already conceived, came forth from the side of the second Adam in His sleep on the Cross, first showed Herself before the eyes of men on the great day of Pentecost.”23 For the Divine Redeemer began the building of the mystical temple of the Church when by His preaching He made known His Precepts; He completed it when he hung glorified on the Cross; and He manifested and proclaimed it when He sent the Holy Ghost as Paraclete in visible form on His disciples.

For while fulfilling His office as preacher He chose Apostles, sending them as He had been sent by the Father24—namely, as teachers, rulers, instruments of holiness in the assembly of the believers; He appointed their Chief and His Vicar on earth;25 He made known to them all things and whatsoever He had heard from His Father;26 He also determined that through Baptism27 those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church; and finally, when He came to the close of His life, He instituted at the Last Supper the wonderful Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist.

23 Encycl. Divinum Illud: Acta Sanctæ Sedis, XXIX, p. 649.
24 John, XVII, 18.
25 Cf. Matth., XVI, 18-19.
26 John, XV, 15; XVII, 8 and 14.
27 Cf. John, III, 5.

Mystici Corporis Christi 25-27

Scripture and the Magisterium attest that the Church is a visible body

From Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi (1943):

If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ—which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church12—we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression “the Mystical Body of Christ”—an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers.

That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. “Christ,” says the Apostle, “is the Head of the Body of the Church.”13 If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: “Though many we are one body in Christ.”14 But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: “the Church is visible because she is a body.”15 Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely “pneumatological” as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are untied by an invisible bond.

12 Cf. [First] Vat. Council, Const. de fide cath., c. 1.
13 Col., I, 18.
14 Rom., XII, 5.
15 Cf. Acta Sanctæ Sedis, XXVIII, p. 710.

Mystici Corporis Christi 13-14

A prayer for conversion in perilous times

Over the space of several generations we Catholics have stood by, mostly silent, as Modernists have distorted the truths of our Faith; have robbed us of our liturgical patrimony; have extolled the perceived virtues of Judaism, Islam, various Protestant denominations, and other non-Catholic religions; and have impeded missionary work toward the union of all peoples in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. As our reward, we have witnessed the collapse of the Church in the West and the advance of bloody terror to Her very gates.

By our silence, our wavering, our equivocation, our failure in stewardship, we have brought mortal peril upon our society and upon our souls. Even so we may yet take comfort that God in His Mercy will stay His hand and save us if we turn to Him with our whole heart, proclaim and live His Gospel, and work toward the establishment of the Social Reign of Christ the King.

Let the time for equivocation now end. We implore our pastors, our hierarchs, and all our Catholic brethren to join in the following prayer, formerly indulgenced, promulgated by Pope Leo XIII in 1899.

O most loving and beloved Heart of Jesus, prostrate before Thee we fervently beseech Thee to extend over the Church and throughout the world those streams of living water, which flow from Thee as from an inexhaustible fountain springing up into eternal life. O Jesus, son of David and Son of the living God, have compassion upon us, the children of Thy pierced Heart. O take not from us the gift of Thy most holy Faith, though we deserve as much for our sins and ingratitude; hide not Thyself from our eyes, Thou Who art the true light and our one hope; but remain with us, O Lord, while the darkness of error grows thicker, and fill us with the fire of charity, which Thou camest on earth to bring, and desirest to be enkindled in the hearts of all men.

O Jesus, sacrificed for us upon the altar of the Cross, draw us to Thee, and with us draw the Jews and Turks, for whom also Thou hast shed Thy Blood to the last drop.

May this Blood, once invoked by some in malediction, descend in benediction upon their heads and save them. May this Blood, despised and profaned by other nations, give forth for these a cry for mercy and purify them. Succour, O Lord, we implore Thee, the poor sons of Isaac and Ishmael, for whom Thou wouldst again undergo Thy dolorous Passion and Death. We appeal on their behalf to those most holy Wounds in Thy Hands and Feet and Side, which Thou dost keep ever fresh and open, as the price of the world’s redemption. To their powerful pleadings are united those which issue from the heart of Thy most sweet Mother. That heart, transfixed with a sword of grief, plunged in a sea of suffering, tormented with Thine at the foot of the Cross, we offer to Thee, O Jesus, for the salvation of all those unhappy souls.

O sweet heart of Mary, do thou speak to Jesus as we ourselves know not how to speak, and He will hear thee, so that even if a miracle be necessary to overcome the resistance of those for whom we pray, we ask it of thee, O Virgin Immaculate, by that immense love which thou bearest to Jesus.

Only deign to appear to the Jews and Turks as thou didst once appear to Ratisbonne,1 and, at a signal from thy right hand, like him they will be suddenly converted.

Oh! may the day soon come when the Holy Trinity shall reign through thee in all hearts, and all shall know, love and adore in spirit and in truth the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.

1 Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne (1814-1884), a convert from Judaism who experienced a vision of the Blessed Mother in his youth, became a Jesuit, and later co-founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion.

The grand truth of nature

From Section 21 of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum, published in 1891:

The things of earth cannot be understood or valued aright without taking into consideration the life to come, the life that will know no death. Exclude the idea of futurity, and forthwith the very notion of what is good and right would perish; nay, the whole scheme of the universe would become a dark and unfathomable mystery. The great truth which we learn from nature herself is also the grand Christian dogma on which religion rests as on its foundation — that, when we have given up this present life, then shall we really begin to live. God has not created us for the perishable and transitory things of earth, but for things heavenly and everlasting; He has given us this world as a place of exile, and not as our abiding place. As for riches and the other things which men call good and desirable, whether we have them in abundance, or are lacking in them — so far as eternal happiness is concerned — it makes no difference; the only important thing is to use them aright. Jesus Christ, when He redeemed us with plentiful redemption, took not away the pains and sorrows which in such large proportion are woven together in the web of our mortal life. He transformed them into motives of virtue and occasions of merit; and no man can hope for eternal reward unless he follow in the blood-stained footprints of his Savior. “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him” [2 Tim ii.12]. Christ’s labors and sufferings, accepted of His own free will, have marvelously sweetened all suffering and all labor. And not only by His example, but by His grace and by the hope held forth of everlasting recompense, has He made pain and grief more easy to endure; “for that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” [2 Cor iv.17].