Why Did Pius XII Proclaim the Dogma of Mary’s Assumption?

Dr. Kenneth Howell September 1, 2011 

Reprinted from the Coming Home Network International

The month of August is for most Americans a time of enjoying the last days of summer fun before preparing for the return of another school year. It’s a relaxing season to be with family and friends, hosting barbecues, picnics, and swimming parties. For Catholics, as for their fellow Americans, August represents the transition from summer heat to the cool air of autumn.

But there’s one important difference between the way Catholics and others observe this month. Catholics celebrate an important mystery in the history of salvation on August 15: the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.

Officially instituted on this day in the year 1950, this solemnity marks the most recent dogma proclaimed as such by the Catholic Church. But its historical roots run deep: Like every dogma, the Assumption of Mary is first and foremost a mystery, in the biblical and Catholic sense of an event of salvation history that embodies the saving power of God. That means it’s important for us to understand what it’s about.

We may take it for granted that the Church doesn’t proclaim dogmas without good reason. All the major doctrinal decisions in the history of the Church were motivated by a pastoral concern for the health of the faithful. After all, the first and last responsibility of the bishops and priests of the Church is the spiritual welfare of the faithful.

So why is Mary’s assumption into heaven an important truth for our spiritual well-being? What’s the spiritual benefit of the dogma of the Assumption? To find out, we must first understand what the Catholic Church teaches about it.

Pope Pius XII formally defined and promulgated this dogma in his encyclical Munificentissimus Deus (August, 15 1950). The fact of the Assumption was stated this way: “It is a dogma revealed by God that the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.” But we must also ask what the Holy Father hoped would be the pastoral benefit for the people of God.



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August: Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Prayer of Pope Pius XII

Queen of the Holy Rosary,
Help of the Christians,
Refuge of the human race,
Conqueress in God’s battlefields,

To You and to Your Immaculate Heart
In this tragic hour of human history
We entrust and consecrate ourselves,
And the Holy Church.
She is the Mystical Body of Your Jesus,
Suffering and bleeding in so many parts
And tormented in so many ways,
We consecrate to You the whole world torn by bitter strive
And consumed by the fire of hatred
The victim of its own wickedness.

Look with compassion to all material and moral destruction
To the suffering and fears of fathers and mothers
Of husbands and wives, of brother and sisters and innocent children.
Look at the many lives cut down in the flower of youth
So many bodies torn to pieces in brutal slaughter
So many souls tortured and troubled
And in danger of being lost eternally.

Oh, Mother of Mercy, obtain peace for us from God!
Obtain especially those graces, which can convert human hearts quickly.
Those graces, which can prepare, establish and insure peace.
Queen of Peace, pray for us;
Give the world at war the peace for which all are longing,
Peace in Truth, Justice and the Charity of Christ.
Give them peace of the arms and peace of mind,
That in tranquillity and order
The Kingdom of God may expand.

Grant Your protection to infidels
And to those still walking in the shadow of death;
Give them peace and permit that the sun of truth may raise upon them;
And that together with us
They may repeat before the Only Saviour of the World:
Glory to God in the highest
And peace on earth among men of good will (Lk2.14)

Give peace to the people separated by error and schism,
Particularly those, who have special devotion to You
And among whom there was no home,
Where Your venerable Icon was not honoured,
Though at present it may be hidden
In the hope for better days.
Bring them back to the One Fold of Christ,
Under the One True Shepherd.

Obtain peace and complete liberty for the Holy Church of God,
Check the spreading flood of neo-paganism,
Arouse within the faithful love of purity
The practice of Christian life and apostolic zeal,
So that the people who serve God,
May increase in merit and number.

All of humanity were once consecrated to the Heart of Your Son.
All our hopes rest in Him, Who is in all times
Sign and pledge of victory and salvation.
Forever we consecrate ourselves to You
And to Your Immaculate Heart,
Oh, Mother and Queen of the World!

May Your love and patronage hasten the victory of the Kingdom of God,
May all nations, at peace with each other and with God, proclaim You Blessed
And sing with You from one end of the earth to the other,
The eternal Magnificat of glory, love and gratitude
To the Heart of Jesus, in which alone,
They can find Truth, Life and Peace.

Blessed Trinity Sunday

Athanasian Creed

Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever. This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.

The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.

Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being. So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.

Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

However, there are not three gods, but one God. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord. However, there are not three lords, but one Lord. For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord, so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone. The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits. In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another. So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshiped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.

He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity. It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man. As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh. He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity. Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ. And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed unto God. He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person. As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ. He died for our salvation, descended into Hell, and rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.

This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved. Amen.

Blessed Feast of the Ascension!

Beloved, below is one of the loveliest homilies on the Ascension of Our Lord I have heard. It gets better as this Benedictine Bishop of Aberdeen goes on. Do listen to the end! 

A most blessed Feast of the Ascension to you all . . . until, please God, we see Him face to face. 

 Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.

A Blessed Mother’s Day to Every Mother!

On this very special Mother’s Day, we would like to share with you the woman who is called “The Mother of Saints”. Her name is Saint Emmelia of Caesarea. 

Saint Emmelia is the mother of five saints, some of whom will surprise you! They are: Saint Macrina, Saint Basil, Saint Peter of Sebaste, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Theosebia. 

There is a most beautiful article in EWTN’s library that tells of the life of Saint Basil (who is celebrated by both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church), and with the life of this glorious saint, the upbringing that he and his siblings experienced by such a saintly mother. The article is too long to include here, but you can go to: http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/basil.htm.

We wish every mother, from the moment of conception of every child, a most blessed and glorious Mother’s Day, in the Mother of God, the most Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Mothers, our Model and our Hope, through whom every grace is given. 

With our love and prayers,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.

Truth, Beloved!

 We greet you on this Ash Wednesday with a message from one of the Church’s outstanding priests, Father Gerald Murray, whose talk at the recent Lepanto Conference in New York gives us the start to this holy Lenten season that is sorely needed. Well did Father Murray title his talk: 

“Truth, Holiness and Obedience to God’s Word: the Remedy for the Church’s Travails” 

I had the wonderful privilege of attending the Lepanto Conference, now in its second year, sponsored by the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny. Further information and talks from this year’s conference can be found at: http://sthughofcluny.org/2019/02/the-second-lepanto-conference-part-i.html and https://www.facebook.com/events/2462826193746314/

Here is Father Murray’s talk, with introduction by Father Kevin Cusick: 

Our love and prayers to you all for
a most holy and blessed Lent, 

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. 
and the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope 

A Little Levity in the midst of our Ailing World!

Beloved, I have been told that the video below has been on social media for a month or so. However, I (un-social media person that I am) never saw it prior to its appearance as a Fox News item this morning. I am astonished that our high tech youth of today were not at all familiar with this non-push-button contraption! 

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/watch-2-adorably-clueless-teens-17-baffled-by-a-rotary-phone

While we’re on “old-fashioned”, here is a beautiful and heart-warming story about a phone outdated by even the one above: 

The Old Phone on the Wall…. Hello 

When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood…. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. 

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time. 

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. 

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. 

“Information, please” I said into the mouth piece just above my head. 

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. 

“Information.” 

“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. 

“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question. 

“Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered. 

“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked. 

“No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.” 

“Can you open the icebox?” she asked. 

I said I could. 

“Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice… 

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything.. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. 

She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. 

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, “Information Please,” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?” 

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, ” Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” 

Somehow I felt better. 

Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.” 

“Information,” said in the now familiar voice. “How do I spell fix?” I asked. 

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. 

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy. 

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.” 

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. 

“Information.” 

I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, 

“Could you please tell me how to spell fix?” 

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.” 

I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?” 

I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.” 

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. 

“Please do”, she said. “Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, “Information.” I asked for Sally. 

“Are you a friend?” she said. 

“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered. 

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. “Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.” 

Before I could hang up, she said, “Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne?” 

Yes,” I answered. 

“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.” 

The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.” 

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. 

https://www.johnpratt.com/items/email/2012/old_phone.html

God bless and keep you and all whom you love, 

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.