New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quotes: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Quotes: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
And what is God? Supreme happiness. That is all. 
     St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Be humble, be simple, and bring joy to others.
     St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Aim unceasingly at becoming a soul of prayer.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Let us respect childhood; let us honor the soul of that small creature of God who can already make choices of the best if we take the time to awaken her reason and make her use her judgment. … I am overwhelmed with love in thinking that this is the mission of the Society – and I have to spend my time in administration! 
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

For the sake of one child, I would have founded the Society.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

What is needed for winning parents and children is to be busy about them, at their service from morning to night; to forget oneself and enter into what concerns the children, body and soul; to listen to them with interest; to console and to encourage them; finally to sacrifice for them everything except one's soul; and become for their sakes gentle, patient, indulgent, in one word, a mother.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Give only good example to the children; never correct them when out of humor or impatient. We must win them by an appeal to their piety and to their hearts. Soften your reprimands with kind words; encourage and reward them. That is, in short, our way of educating.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

With the pupils keep an even tone, both gentle and firm. Show them by the care with which you help them to advance along every line for which you are responsible, that you care for their interests alone, and that you want to help them to acquire a solid and pious education, enhanced by learning, and thusmake them happy.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

It is all very well to lay the foundations of solid virtue, but only the union of virtue with learning will give our work its perfection.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

We must not be blind to the fact that in these times of activity in which we live, demands are made upon us and obstacles rise so that certain modifications and a certain perfectioning become indispensable.... Education, is no longer what it was a few years ago; the multiplication of institutions which follow the trends of the times make us seem behind. God forbid that we should wish to compromise with duty and sacrifice our principal end to these tendencies, but we must again examine what we can accord and review our Plan of Studies to modify and complete it.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

We must know how to inspire in our pupils a passion for the beautiful. Let us put history into their souls; without that, memories will fade and we shall have wasted our time. In seeing the empires that rise and fall one after the other, they will perhaps learn to rise above their own troubles. They will thus better understand the sic transit gloria mundi, and their hearts, disillusioned with what is nothing, will be more strongly drawn to Him who alone remains in the midst of so many ruins.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

In this struggle concerning education the Heart of Jesus asks from us not our blood but our minds. We must strengthen our studies by intellectual work. There is no question of flight from this task. The directors of Institutions-Catholic, Roman, and apostolic-tell us, poor women who are authorized by the Church to teach, that we must hold our own, and then measure ourselves against the University.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Let your classical methods cause faith to speak to reason in future teachers of our boarding schools and free schools. It is not here a question of memory, except to lay up a good store of it; it is a question of discernment, of application of religious principles. We must be busy with these things in order to respond fitly to the mission implied in our vow.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Women and children must have some knowledge of current errors and form their own judgments in light of Christianity, in order to conform intelligently to the enlightened teaching of the Church. The hour has come when we must give reason for our faith. Let our teachers be trained to reason that our pupils may learn to do so.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Your example, even more than your words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat over the children. One of them wrote recently that she was bored,because discipline and piety were on the wane. How is this happening? You know children need to be held kindly and with courtesy no doubt, but this does not mean relaxing order, silence, obedience, respect for the mistresses. When these go, so does piety, for duty and fear are its foundation. To succeed, you must be sure that you and the Mistress General and the other mistresses, understand each other perfectly so that you all work along the same lines as far as possible.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

What is the good of teaching various subjects, of wasting time in learning them, if at the same time we cannot teach children the words of life and touch their hearts and their consciences?
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Your little Blessed Virgin isn't half-bad. When I go the tribune I often turn aside to look at her. She is of the same age as our children and speaks to me of the youth to whom I have vowed my life.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat to Pauline Perdrau, RSCJ

It is not merely for our own sakes that we should try to become interior souls; we should have constantly before our eyes the children who will come to claim spiritual help from us, help that without prayer we shall never be able to give them.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

You know that the greatest treasure is the cross. A large portion of it is reserved for you....You will have those crosses which come from yourself; but you will sometimes have others no less painful. These are, you will say, gloomy predictions; Yes, for nature, but precious in the order of grace.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Make yourself familiar with these teaching methods, then see with them whether we should adopt them at any rate for the slower children. One of the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the town told me the other day that he had found a method of teaching a young man to write in 20 lessons, to read in half that number and to get hold of the elements of Arithmetic; and this was a young man so devoid of intelligence that until now he has been unable to learn the alphabet or to write a word. Perhaps we could adapt this method to our plan of studies especially for spelling in which in general we show up very badly. I must own that our children seem to do less well in this than many others from small schools or day-schools. This reputation has done us no good but has lost us many pupils. I have said this consistently at our councils but without success as people are afraid of what they call "innovations". This is a shortsighted point of view and I hope that people will have second thoughts on the matter.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

I can see from your letter that you have begun to understand and appreciate virtue: not just in your imagination but in your heart. You realize now that holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things nor in feeling love or any emotion, but in becoming simple, unnoticed, docile like a child. Be zealous for the good of souls but without great effort of mind. Believe that others can achieve results and that we must be happy to help and take second place. It has cost you so much to reach this stage! You kept crying out: "Peace, peace!" But peace is only found in a simple and humble heart and yours was so full of yourself! Our hearts are only happy in utter simplicity; yours will only be content, if your throw out all these conflicting desires which are destroying its peace. Be wise and good henceforth and learn from your experience.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Let us fix our eyes on the crucifix in every difficult moment and that gaze will renew our courage.
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us, then we will act on the Spirit’s gentle inspiration. Let us accustom ourselves to walking in these divine paths, following grace and not nature. When we go too fast it is easy to be influenced by the second. Ah! It is a great art to act only by the Spirit of Jesus
    St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Mother Barat had stipulated that newcomers were not to be served sensible food like carrots but given what they wanted at no matter what trouble to the kitchen. This child demanded "potatoes that open with butter inside." While the potatoes disappeared Mother Perdrau let her talk about home, then led her to the best dormitory and tucked her into bed. The child hugged her pillow happily, then suddenly threw her arms around Mother Perdrau. "Why do you love me so much? You’ve never seen be before!
    Saint Madeleine Sophie: Her Life and Letters,
    Margaret Williams, RSCJ Pg. 520

I assure you that I have taken a firm resolution and I hope to engrave it profoundly on my soul during the retreat which I am just beginning: I want to refuse God nothing. But that’s not enough; I want to go before God’s will and embrace it no matter what it is. May God help my weakness. (Nov. 1810)
    Mother Barat wrote to Mother Duchesne

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat 29th May 2009

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, was born in Joigny, France on December 12, 1779. She was a frail, intensely thoughtful child, who knew with ruthless logic, before she could talk, that God alone mattered. She grew up in the simple home of a barrel maker where she received a remarkable education under the guidance of her brother, Louis. At age 16, Sophie went to Paris to study, following a demanding program that included mathematics, Latin, theology, and biblical studies. It was in Paris that she learned from Father Joseph Varin of plans for a new religious congregation whose end would be to glorify the Heart of Jesus. It was to be rooted in prayer and devoted to the ministry of education. On November 21, 1800, with three others, she consecrated her life "to make known the revelation of God's love, whose source and symbol is the Heart of Christ."

The first school was in Amiens, France. On January 18, 1806, at the age of twenty-six, Mother Barat was elected Superior General of the order, an office she held until her death in 1865. On Ascension Thursday, May 25m 1865, Madeleine Sophie Barat died in Paris. She was beatified in May 1908 and was canonized a saint in 1925. Her feast is celebrated on May 25th.

Summa Theologica - Ascension Article 6

Article 6. Whether Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation. For, Christ was the cause of our salvation in so far as He merited it. But He merited nothing for us by His Ascension, because His Ascension belongs to the reward of His exaltation: and the same thing is not both merit and reward, just as neither are a road and its terminus the same. Therefore it seems that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation.

Objection 2. Further, if Christ's Ascension be the cause of our salvation, it seems that this is principally due to the fact that His Ascension is the cause of ours. But this was bestowed upon us by His Passion, for it is written (Hebrews 10:19): "We have [Vulgate: 'Having'] confidence in the entering into the holies by" His "blood." Therefore it seems that Christ's Ascension was not the cause of our salvation.

Objection 3. Further, the salvation which Christ bestows is an everlasting one, according to Isaiah 51:6: "My salvation shall be for ever." But Christ did not ascend into heaven to remain there eternally; for it is written (Acts 1:11): "He shall so come as you have seen Him going, into heaven." Besides, we read of Him showing Himself to many holy people on earth after He went up to heaven. to Paul, for instance (Acts 9). Consequently, it seems that Christ's Ascension is not the cause of our salvation.

On the contrary, He Himself said (John 16:7): "It is expedient to you that I go"; i.e. that I should leave you and ascend into heaven.

I answer that, Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation in two ways: first of all, on our part; secondly, on His.

On our part, in so far as by the Ascension our souls are uplifted to Him; because, as stated above (1, ad 3), His Ascension fosters, first, faith; secondly, hope; thirdly, charity. Fourthly, our reverence for Him is thereby increased, since we no longer deem Him an earthly man, but the God of heaven; thus the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 5:16): "If we have known Christ according to the flesh--'that is, as mortal, whereby we reputed Him as a mere man,'" as the gloss interprets the words--"but now we know Him so no longer."

On His part, in regard to those things which, in ascending, He did for our salvation. First, He prepared the way for our ascent into heaven, according to His own saying (John 14:2): "I go to prepare a place for you," and the words of Micheas (2:13), "He shall go up that shall open the way before them." For since He is our Head the members must follow whither the Head has gone: hence He said (John 14:3): "That where I am, you also may be." In sign whereof He took to heaven the souls of the saints delivered from hell, according to Psalm 67:19 (Cf. Ephesians 4:8): "Ascending on high, He led captivity captive," because He took with Him to heaven those who had been held captives by the devil--to heaven, as to a place strange to human nature. captives in deed of a happy taking, since they were acquired by His victory.

Secondly, because as the high-priest under the Old Testament entered the holy place to stand before God for the people, so also Christ entered heaven "to make intercession for us," as is said in Hebrews 7:25. Because the very showing of Himself in the human nature which He took with Him to heaven is a pleading for us. so that for the very reason that God so exalted human nature in Christ, He may take pity on them for whom the Son of God took human nature. Thirdly, that being established in His heavenly seat as God and Lord, He might send down gifts upon men, according to Ephesians 4:10: "He ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things," that is, "with His gifts," according to the gloss.

Reply to Objection 1. Christ's Ascension is the cause of our salvation by way not of merit, but of efficiency, as was stated above regarding His Resurrection (56, 1, ad 3,4).

Reply to Objection 2. Christ's Passion is the cause of our ascending to heaven, properly speaking, by removing the hindrance which is sin, and also by way of merit: whereas Christ's Ascension is the direct cause of our ascension, as by beginning it in Him who is our Head, with whom the members must be united.

Reply to Objection 3. Christ by once ascending into heaven acquired for Himself and for us in perpetuity the right and worthiness of a heavenly dwelling-place; which worthiness suffers in no way, if, from some special dispensation, He sometimes comes down in body to earth; either in order to show Himself to the whole world, as at the judgment; or else to show Himself particularly to some individual, e.g. in Paul's case, as we read in Acts 9. And lest any man may think that Christ was not bodily present when this occurred, the contrary is shown from what the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 14:8, to confirm faith in the Resurrection: "Last of all He was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time": which vision would not confirm the truth of the Resurrection except he had beheld Christ's very body.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summa Theologica - Ascension Article 5

Article 5. Whether Christ's body ascended above every spiritual creature?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's body did not ascend above every spiritual creature. For no fitting comparison can be made between things which have no common ratio. But place is not predicated in the same ratio of bodies and of spiritual creatures, as is evident from what was said in I, 8, 2, ad 1,2 and I, 52, 1. Therefore it seems that Christ's body cannot be said to have ascended above every spiritual creature.

Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. lv) that a spirit always takes precedence over a body. But the higher place is due to the higher things. Therefore it does not seem that Christ ascended above every spiritual creature.

Objection 3. Further, in every place a body exists, since there is no such thing as a vacuum in nature. Therefore if no body obtains a higher place than a spirit in the order of natural bodies, then there will be no place above every spiritual creature. Consequently, Christ's body could not ascend above every spiritual creature.

On the contrary, It is written (Ephesians 1:21): "God set Him above all principality, and Power, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."

I answer that, The more exalted place is due to the nobler subject, whether it be a place according to bodily contact, as regards bodies, or whether it be by way of spiritual contact, as regards spiritual substances; thus a heavenly place which is the highest of places is becomingly due to spiritual substances, since they are highest in the order of substances. But although Christ's body is beneath spiritual substances, if we weigh the conditions of its corporeal nature, nevertheless it surpasses all spiritual substances in dignity, when we call to mind its dignity of union whereby it is united personally with God. Consequently, owing to this very fittingness, a higher place is due to it above every spiritual creature. Hence Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (xxix in Evang.) that "He who had made all things, was by His own power raised up above all things."

Reply to Objection 1. Although a place is differently attributed to corporeal and spiritual substances, still in either case this remains in common, that the higher place is assigned to the worthier.

Reply to Objection 2. This argument holds good of Christ's body according to the conditions of its corporeal nature, but not according to its formality of union.

Reply to Objection 3. This comparison may be considered either on the part of the places; and thus there is no place so high as to exceed the dignity of a spiritual substance: in this sense the objection runs. Or it may be considered on the part of the dignity of the things to which a place is attributed: and in this way it is due to the body of Christ to be above spiritual creatures.

St. Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes - 28th May 2009

Daughter of Don Girolamo Flores Zenel de Paredes, a nobleman of Toledo, and Doña Mariana Cranobles de Xaramilo; her birth was accompanied by unusual celestial phenomena. Orphaned very young, she was raised by her older sister and her husband. Mary Ann was a pious child with a devotion to Mary. She was miraculously saved from death several times. 

Attracted to religious life at an early age, at ten she made vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. She initially wanted to be a Dominican nun, but instead became a hermit in home of her sister; her life changed at that point, and except for church, she never left the house again. Given to severe austerities, she slept little, and ate an ounce of dry bread every eight or ten days, surviving solely on the Eucharist which she received during daily Communion. Given to ecstacies; had gifts of prophecy, remote viewing, reading of hearts, healing by making the Sign of the Cross or sprinkling with holy water, and at least once restored a dead person to life. 

During the 1645 earthquakes, and inevitable epidemics, in Quito, she publicly offered herself as a victim for the city and died shortly after. Immediately after her death there blossomed a pure white lily from her blood. The Republic of Ecuador has declared her a national heroine.

She was beatified on 10 November 1853 by Pope Pius IX and was canonized in 1950 by Pope Pius XII

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summa Theologica - Ascension Article 4

Article 4. Whether Christ ascended above all the heavens?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not ascend above all the heavens, for it is written (Psalm 10:5): "The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven." But what is in heaven is not above heaven. Therefore Christ did not ascend above all the heavens.

Objection 2. [This objection with its solution is omitted in the Leonine edition as not being in the original manuscript.]

Further, there is no place above the heavens, as is proved in De Coelo i. But every body must occupy a place. Therefore Christ's body did not ascend above all the heavens.

Objection 3. Further, two bodies cannot occupy the same place. Since, then, there is no passing from place to place except through the middle space, it seems that Christ could not have ascended above all the heavens unless heaven were divided; which is impossible.

Objection 4. Further, it is narrated (Acts 1:9) that "a cloud received Him out of their sight." But clouds cannot be uplifted beyond heaven. Consequently, Christ did not ascend above all the heavens.

Objection 5. Further, we believe that Christ will dwell for ever in the place whither He has ascended. But what is against nature cannot last for ever, because what is according to nature is more prevalent and of more frequent occurrence. Therefore, since it is contrary to nature for an earthly body to be above heaven, it seems that Christ's body did not ascend above heaven.

On the contrary, It is written (Ephesians 4:10): "He ascended above all the heavens that He might fill all things."

I answer that, The more fully anything corporeal shares in the Divine goodness, the higher its place in the corporeal order, which is order of place. Hence we see that the more formal bodies are naturally the higher, as is clear from the Philosopher (Phys. iv; De Coelo ii), since it is by its form that every body partakes of the Divine Essence, as is shown in Physics i. But through glory the body derives a greater share in the Divine goodness than any other natural body does through its natural form; while among other glorious bodies it is manifest that Christ's body shines with greater glory. Hence it was most fitting for it to be set above all bodies. Thus it is that on Ephesians 4:8: "Ascending on high," the gloss says: "in place and dignity."

Reply to Objection 1. God's seat is said to be in heaven, not as though heaven contained Him, but rather because it is contained by Him. Hence it is not necessary for any part of heaven to be higher, but for Him to be above all the heavens; according to Psalm 8:2: "For Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens, O God!"

Reply to Objection 2. [Omitted in Leonine edition; see Objection 2] A place implies the notion of containing; hence the first container has the formality of first place, and such is the first heaven. Therefore bodies need in themselves to be in a place, in so far as they are contained by a heavenly body. But glorified bodies, Christ's especially, do not stand in need of being so contained, because they draw nothing from the heavenly bodies, but from God through the soul. So there is nothing to prevent Christ's body from being beyond the containing radius of the heavenly bodies, and not in a containing place. Nor is there need for a vacuum to exist outside heaven, since there is no place there, nor is there any potentiality susceptive of a body, but the potentiality of reaching thither lies in Christ. So when Aristotle proves (De Coelo ii) that there is no body beyond heaven, this must be understood of bodies which are in a state of pure nature, as is seen from the proofs.

Reply to Objection 3. Although it is not of the nature of a body for it to be in the same place with another body, yet God can bring it about miraculously that a body be with another in the same place, as Christ did when He went forth from the Virgin's sealed womb, also when He entered among the disciples through closed doors, as Gregory says (Hom. xxvi). Therefore Christ's body can be in the same place with another body, not through some inherent property in the body, but through the assistance and operation of the Divine power.

Reply to Objection 4. That cloud afforded no support as a vehicle to the ascending Christ: but it appeared as a sign of the Godhead, just as God's glory appeared to Israel in a cloud over the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:32; Numbers 9:15).

Reply to Objection 5. A glorified body has the power to be in heaven or above heaven. not from its natural principles, but from the beatified soul, from which it derives its glory: and just as the upward motion of a glorified body is not violent, so neither is its rest violent: consequently, there is nothing to prevent it from being everlasting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catholic Education - Cardinal Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

What does it profit us if a student is an intellectual giant but a moral baby," he asked, "if he or she can shoot out mathematical or historical facts like a computer but is unfortunately a problem for the parents, corrosive acid among companions in the college, a drug addict and sexual pervert, a disgrace to the school, a waste-pipe in the place of work and 'Case No. 23' for the criminal police? It is clear that intellectual development is not enough."

For the rest of the speech refer to EWTN

I am Upset

I have not been keeping well. Add to that the Irish Borthers abuse situation, Archbishop Weakland, Fr Cutie...and my mood just feels terrible. 
The Preisthood means a lot to me, I am an idealist, I know that preists are men, and men are human and make mistakes, but still I find this all very very saddening and heartbreaking.
I feel frustrated and powerless, I cannot do anything about this. All I can do is pray, pray to Mother Mary becasue all preists are her special sons. I can only imagine how all of this breaks her heart. 
There rant for the day over.

St. Philip Neri - 26th May 2009

Let us read what Dr. Plinio has to teach us about St. Philip Neri

Biographical selection:

Phillip Neri (1515-1595) was born in Florence of a noble but impoverished family. He studied theology and philosophy and dedicated himself to apostolic works from his youth. Eventually he set aside his studies and founded a society to care for the sick and poor pilgrims in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in 1551, and founded the Congregation of the Oratory, the Oratorians, a group of priests dedicated to preaching and teaching. He was a great mystic, who received the gifts of prophecy and discernment of spirits. He could read the souls of penitents, and heard confessions by the hour. He was canonized some 25 years after his death along with St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis Xavier.

The religious crisis that took so many provinces from the Catholic Church deeply afflicted St. Phillip Neri. He suffered cruelly to see so many people being drowned in the waves of heresy. He attentively followed the maneuvers of Protestantism and planned a counter-attack against a Lutheran work of propaganda, the Magdeburg Centuries. This vast compilation was written to persuade readers that the Catholic Church had abandoned her early beliefs and practices. The multi-volume collection was filled with historical falsifications to “prove” its goal.

To counter this fabrication St. Phillip wanted a complete work of erudition to be written on the History of the Church from the time of Our Lord Jesus Christ up to his own time. He ordered the work to be done by Cesar Baronius, an Oratorian who would succeed him as Superior of the Oratory in 1593 and made a Cardinal in 1596.

Baronius alleged that he was unworthy and lacked the competence for such a great work; but St. Phillip was inflexible and ordered him under religious obedience to undertake the project. He spent close to 30 years to write it (1588–1607), covering the time up to the 12th century. This collection was called Ecclesiastical Annals. It was completed after his death.

The heresy felt the blow. The errors of the anti-Catholic Magdeburg Centuries became evident as the work of Baronius eclipsed it. The Ecclesiastical Annals contributed powerfully to stem the growing tide of Protestantism in Europe. From Baronius' work the Catholic Church emerged as she had always been, as the pillar of truth.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

St. Phillip Neri was a man with a universal Catholic sense. He was not just interested in realizing a personal work, which certainly was important – the foundation of the Congregation of the Oratory – but he had a general concern for the Catholic Church as a whole. He was personally offended by Protestants attacking the Church through a work that was meant to be monumental – the Magdeburg Centuries. Actually it was a monumental lie. The Protestants, as heretics who hated the Church, fabricated another history of the Church full of untruths and slanders, with the specific purpose of denigrating the good name of the Catholic Church and separating her from the faithful.

These Protestants were from the same family of souls as the Pharisees, who produced false witnesses to condemn the Lamb of God. Analogously, in the beginning of the Church, groups of Jews moved by hatred against her spread many apocrypha documents – false gospels or epistles attributed to the Apostles – in order to confuse Catholics and induce them toward heresies. Until today, from time to time, the discussion of the apocrypha documents resurfaces trying to sabotage the Gospels.

Also after Protestantism, and in its wake, some authors of the Encyclopedia spread countless lies regarding the past of the Church. This in many ways was continued by Michelet in the 19th century. Today, these revolutionary authors lost credibility and their lies are universally recognized in scholarly milieus, even though they still influence badly those who do not have access to good historical sources. So, it was and still is a rule of the enemies to falsify history in order to slander Holy Mother Church.

When St. Phillip Neri saw the evil results that the Centuries of Magdeburg was having by favoring the spread of Protestantism, he decided to counter-attack. He chose the only way possible which was to make a gigantic work of erudition. A work using the best documents dating from the very beginning of the Church up to his own time, that would present the incontestable reality of the facts. To do this work he chose one of his most capable disciples, Baronius. After some hesitations Baronius dedicated some 30 years of his life to this job and the result was the Ecclesiastical Annals, one of the most serious works of all times. The work of Baronius stands forever as a point of reference for any serious historical study. His work pulverized the supposed “scientific” work of the Protestants who were left completely discredited.

The root of this work was St. Phillip Neri's amplitude of vision, his love of the Church, and his counter-revolutionary zeal.

An analogous work was made by Fr. Cornelius a Lapide from the Society of Jesus. He received an order to study all the interpretations of the Sacred Scriptures that existed, analyze them, refute the wrong ones, explain the good ones and give the best sources for each of them. Again, it was a counter-revolutionary work to destroy the pseudo-scientific Protestant interpretations which were polluting the atmosphere of piety and studies in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fr. Cornelius a Lapide wrote his monumental Commentaries to the Sacred Scriptures encompassing all its books from Genesis to the Apocalypse. To this date it is one of the most – if not the most – complete ensemble of Exegesis that the Catholic Church has. It is an everlasting source of erudition and piety for historians, preachers, and faithful in general.

Let us ask the great counter-revolutionary St. Phillip Neri to give us conditions to imitate him, hurting the Revolution at its head so that it can be completely destroyed and the Reign of Mary be established over its ruins.

Summa Theologica Ascension Article 3

Article 3. Whether Christ ascended by His own power?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not ascend by His own power, because it is written (Mark 16:19) that "the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up to heaven"; and (Acts 1:9) that, "while they looked on, He was raised up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." But what is taken up, and lifted up, appears to be moved by another. Consequently, it was not by His own power, but by another's that Christ was taken up into heaven.

Objection 2. Further, Christ's was an earthly body, like to ours. But it is contrary to the nature of an earthly body to be borne upwards. Moreover, what is moved contrary to its nature is nowise moved by its own power. Therefore Christ did not ascend to heaven by His own power.

Objection 3. Further, Christ's own power is Divine. But this motion does not seem to have been Divine, because, whereas the Divine power is infinite, such motion would be instantaneous; consequently, He would not have been uplifted to heaven "while" the disciples "looked on," as is stated in Acts 1:9. Therefore, it seems that Christ did not ascend to heaven by His own power.

On the contrary, It is written (Isaiah 63:1): "This beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength." Also Gregory says in a Homily on the Ascension (xxix): "It is to be noted that we read of Elias having ascended in a chariot, that it might be shown that one who was mere man needed another's help. But we do not read of our Saviour being lifted up either in a chariot or by angels, because He who had made all things was taken up above all things by His own power."

I answer that, There is a twofold nature in Christ, to wit, the Divine and the human. Hence His own power can be accepted according to both. Likewise a twofold power can be accepted regarding His human nature: one is natural, flowing from the principles of nature; and it is quite evident that Christ did not ascend into heaven by such power as this. The other is the power of glory, which is in Christ's human nature; and it was according to this that He ascended to heaven.

Now there are some who endeavor to assign the cause of this power to the nature of the fifth essence. This, as they say, is light, which they make out to be of the composition of the human body, and by which they contend that contrary elements are reconciled; so that in the state of this mortality, elemental nature is predominant in human bodies: so that, according to the nature of this predominating element the human body is borne downwards by its own power: but in the condition of glory the heavenly nature will predominate, by whose tendency and power Christ's body and the bodies of the saints are lifted up to heaven. But we have already treated of this opinion in I, 76, 7, and shall deal with it more fully in treating of the general resurrection (XP, 84, 1).

Setting this opinion aside, others assign as the cause of this power the glorified soul itself, from whose overflow the body will be glorified, as Augustine writes to Dioscorus (Ep. cxviii). For the glorified body will be so submissive to the glorified soul, that, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxii), "wheresoever the spirit listeth, thither the body will be on the instant; nor will the spirit desire anything unbecoming to the soul or the body." Now it is befitting the glorified and immortal body for it to be in a heavenly place, as stated above (Article 1). Consequently, Christ's body ascended into heaven by the power of His soul willing it. But as the body is made glorious by participation with the soul, even so, as Augustine says (Tract. xxiii in Joan.), "the soul is beatified by participating in God." Consequently, the Divine power is the first source of the ascent into heaven. Therefore Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, first of all by His Divine power, and secondly by the power of His glorified soul moving His body at will.

Reply to Objection 1. As Christ is said to have risen by His own power, though He was raised to life by the power of the Father, since the Father's power is the same as the Son's; so also Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, and yet was raised up and taken up to heaven by the Father.

Reply to Objection 2. This argument proves that Christ did not ascend into heaven by His own power, i.e. that which is natural to human nature: yet He did ascend by His own power, i.e. His Divine power, as well as by His own power, i.e. the power of His beatified soul. And although to mount upwards is contrary to the nature of a human body in its present condition, in which the body is not entirely dominated by the soul, still it will not be unnatural or forced in a glorified body, whose entire nature is utterly under the control of the spirit.

Reply to Objection 3. Although the Divine power be infinite, and operate infinitely, so far as the worker is concerned, still the effect thereof is received in things according to their capacity, and as God disposes. Now a body is incapable of being moved locally in an instant, because it must be commensurate with space, according to the division of whichtime is reckoned, as is proved in Physics vi. Consequently, it is not necessary for a body moved by God to be moved instantaneously, but with such speed as God disposes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Investirue Issue - Church History

The monk Hildebrand, who had already become a great power in the Church was elected as pope. He chose the name of Gregory VII, and under that name he became even more powerful than he had been as Hildebrand. Between him and Henry IV a bitter struggle for supremacy began.

Two years after his inauguration Gregory issued a decree declaring that henceforth bishops should not be chosen by the emperor nor by any lay person, but that the investiture should be entirely in the hands of the Church. Now emperor after emperor had tried to strengthen the clergy in order to curb the power of the nobles. And to do this emperor after emperor had given them lands to hold in fief, until at length a great part of the soil of Germany was in their hands. If, then, the pope alone had power to appoint bishops, all these lands would pass into his control, and the imperial authority would be seriously lessened.

Henry was at this time only twenty-five. He was passionate and ill-balanced, and little calculated to cope with a pope of overweening pride and terrible severity. He was in no mood to yield up any of his authority, and he deposed the pope. For had not his father elected and deposed popes as he would. But Gregory was no German pope, ready to bow to the commands of a German king. Instead of being cowed by this show of imperial power, he replied to it by excommunicating Henry and threatening to depose him if he remained impenitent.

Never before had a pope dared to use such arrogance towards an emperor, and had Henry been surrounded by faithful vassals, had he ruled over a united people, the thunders of the pope might have fallen harmless upon him; but because of that dream of world dominion Germany was not united. There was little German loyalty to a ruler who claimed the world as his dominion. Every prince of the Empire was constantly seeking an opportunity to become an independent ruler. Now many saw their opportunity, for the pope had set them free from their allegiance, and Henry found his empire filled with rebellion and his authority vanishing into thin air.

Henry soon saw that only by submitting to the pope could he regain his authority over his rebellious subjects, and he made up his mind to submit at once. It was no repentance for his deed which urged him to this, but merely political necessity. In midwinter he crossed the Alps, and after incredible hardships reached Canossa, where the haughty pope awaited him. There, one bitter winter morning, while the snow lay on the ground, the proud emperor appeared before the castle gates of the still prouder pope. Clad in the garb of a penitent, with head and feet bare, he humbly knocked, begging admission. But the door remained closed. A second and a third day passed, and still Henry stood without the gates, waiting the pleasure of the stern old man within.

At length Gregory relented. The penitent king was admitted to his presence, and received absolution. Thus did the inexorable priest uphold before the eyes of all Christendom the papal right to judge kings. Thus did he make good his claim to loose and to bind in earthly as in heavenly Matters, "to give and to take away empires, kingdoms, princedoms, and the possessions of all men." Without striking a blow, without even having an army behind him, this little, grey-haired priest had conquered "the lord of the world."

But the pope, had made an implacable enemy of Henry, and as soon as he felt himself strong enough he defied the pope anew. Again he was excommunicated, and again he replied by deposing the pope. This time he set up an anti-pope and marching to Rome beseiged Gregory there.

After a siege of three years Henry entered the city and received the imperial crown at the hands of his own pope, Clement III. Gregory's day was over, and he fled to Salerno. There he died, but even in death he did not forgive the recreant emperor, and he died leaving his enemy still under the ban of the Church.

Rebellion and civil war filled Henry's last days, and at length, deposed, betrayed, and beggared, he died. But the pope's curse followed him even beyond the grave, and not until five years later was the ban removed and the bones of Henry IV laid to rest in consecrated ground.

Concordat of Worms

Gregory VII was dead, Henry IV was dead, but the struggle over the investiture continued. For succeeding popes clung to the great powers Gregory had claimed, succeeding emperors resisted them. Henry V succeeded his father, Henry IV. He had rebelled against his father during his lifetime, and now the new pope, Paschal II, hoped to find in him an obedient servant; but he was mistaken, and the struggle continued. At length, however, at the Concordat of Worms, Calixtus II being now pope, an agreement was come to. It was agreed that the pope should have the right to investiture with ring and crozier, but that bishops should be chosen with the consent of the emperor, and that they should do homage to him for their fiefs in the same way as laymen.

Thus the struggle of fifty years ended. The pope was, in the main, victorious, for although he had not been able to make good all his claims, he had won much prestige, whereas the emperor had lost much. But although the question of investiture might be settled, the rivalry between pope and emperor, each claiming to rule the world, continued as before. More and more the popes strove to make good their claim to be not only the chief priests but the chief princes of Christendom. But it is not uninteresting to note the difference in the treatment meted out by them to Henry of Germany and William of England.

In England the king was supreme in Church and state. There the people alone could give or take away the crown, there the king made and unmade bishops without reference to the pope. But in the hope of making England a fief of the Church the pope, Alexander II, blessed the enterprise of William of Normandy when he set forth to conquer the kingdom from Harold the Saxon. William, however, pious Churchman as he was, having conquered England, meant to rule there as sole master. Gregory VII also meant to rule there as elsewhere, and after some preliminary skirmishes in which William yielded nothing, he sent a messenger to demand from the king of England an oath probably of fealty, together with the assurance that Peter's Pence should be more punctually paid.

William's reply was very short, very decisive. Bluntly he refused to own himself the pope's man. The kings of England who had gone before him had never sworn fealty to the pope; neither would he. As to Peter's Pence, from ancient times it had been paid, and he would continue to pay it. What was lawfully due to the pope the pope should have. The respect due to the chief priest of Christendom he should also have, and nothing more. The right of investiture, over which pope and emperor quarrelled so fiercely, was never even mentioned, and whatever wrath Gregory may have felt at William's refusal of fealty, no thunders of the Church were launched at the recreant king. This was partly, doubtless, because Gregory was otherwise [100] occupied. His arch-enemy the emperor was again defiant, and had enthroned an anti-pope, and Gregory, gathering his forces to combat him, had little leisure to fight the king of England.

But if the popes were unsuccessful in pressing their claims in England, in Germany they were more successful. During the reign of Lothaire the Saxon, who followed Henry V as ruler of Germany, their power increased. For Lothaire was weakly fearful of arousing the pope's wrath, and he even went so far as to acknowledge the pope as his overlord, in respect of some Italian lands, of which he might have claimed possession outright.

The Dictatus Papae - Pope St. Gregory VII

The Dictatus Papae was included in Pope's register in the year 1075. Some argue that it was written by Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073-1085) himself, others argues that it had a much later different origin. In 1087 Cardinal Deusdedit published a collection of the laws of the Church which he drew from any sources. The Dictatus agrees so clearly and closely with this collection that some have argued the Dictatus must have been based on it; and so must be of a later date of compilation than 1087. There is little doubt that the principals below do express the pope's principals.

The Dictates of the Pope

1. That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
2. That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
3. That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
4. That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
5. That the pope may depose the absent.
6. That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
7. That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
8. That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
9. That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
10. That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
11. That this is the only name in the world.
12. That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
13. That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
14. That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
15. That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
16. That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
17. That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
18. That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
19. That he himself may be judged by no one.
20. That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
21. That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
22. That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
23. That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
24. That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
25. That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
26. That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
27. That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

Pope St. Gregory VII - 25th May 2009

Today is the feast of pope St Gregory the VII, let us read what Dr. Plino has to teach us about this Pope.

Biographical selection:

St. Gregory VII, Pope and Confessor. By his teachings and action he affirmed and defended the rights of the Pope over the Church, and of the spiritual over the temporal sphere. He was an example of intransigence, courage, and confidence in the supernatural.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

It’s a pity that I didn’t remember to bring here a document attributed to St. Gregory VII that is attacked by all the progressivist theologians. It is called Dictatus Papae (1090), which means the The Dictates of the Pope. It is a kind of summary he dictated of the theses he wanted to uphold. Among those theses, one of the most beautiful and habitually shunned regards the relation between the Pope and the Emperor as head of the temporal sphere.

The Emperor at the time, Henry IV, was intervening in Church matters in order to direct her through the control of the election of the Bishops. St. Gregory VII fought against this. He wanted to smash this pretension of the imperial government and humiliate it, and in fact he did so.

The Dictatus Papae shows his thinking on the relations that should exist between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. He affirmed that the Papal Monarchy is a universal monarchy in spiritual matters. In temporal matters the Papal Monarchy should decisively influence the Empire, even without governing it directly. The temporal power should be the sword of the Pope, at his service to protect the Holy Catholic Church, defend the Faith, and persecute its enemies. The temporal power should govern its subjects independently according to natural law, but the Papacy should watch over how this is done. There would be two different and independent powers.

Which one would be the highest power? At the top is the Pope, and at his left, one step down is the Emperor, and below the Emperor, all the Kings and sovereigns of the temporal sphere. Also below the Pope and to his right is the entire Catholic Hierarchy in the spiritual sphere. In synthesis, everything relies upon the Pope. This was St. Gregory VII’s conception of the two powers.

We might ask St. Gregory VII on his feast day to intercede for the world so we might again have this conception of the spiritual and temporal orders. On the day when this again becomes the general view, it will be the dawn of the Reign of Mary. The reverse is also true: on the day that the dawn of the Reign of Mary will arrive, this vision will be born with it.

Let us pray to St. Gregory VII to move God to bring back his sublime vision on earth, because without it nothing can find the right path.

Summa Theologica - Ascension Article 2

Article 2. Whether Christ's Ascension into heaven belonged to Him according to His Divine Nature?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's Ascension into heaven belonged to Him according to His Divine Nature. For, it is written (Psalm 46:6): "God is ascended with jubilee": and (Deuteronomy 33:26): "He that is mounted upon the heaven is thy helper." But these words were spoken of God even before Christ's Incarnation. Therefore it belongs to Christ to ascend into heaven as God.

Objection 2. Further, it belongs to the same person to ascend into heaven as to descend from heaven, according to John 3:13: "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven": and Ephesians 4:10: "He that descended is the same also that ascended." But Christ came down from heaven not as man, but as God: because previously His Nature in heaven was not human, but Divine. Therefore it seems that Christ ascended into heaven as God.

Objection 3. Further, by His Ascension Christ ascended to the Father. But it was not as man that He rose to equality with the Father; for in this respect He says: "He is greater than I," as is said in John 14:28. Therefore it seems that Christ ascended as God.

On the contrary, on Ephesians 4:10: "That He ascended, what is it, but because He also descended," a gloss says: "It is clear that He descended and ascended according to His humanity."

I answer that, The expression "according to" can denote two things; the condition of the one who ascends, and the cause of his ascension. When taken to express the condition of the one ascending, the Ascension in no wise belongs to Christ according to the condition of His Divine Nature; both because there is nothing higher than the Divine Nature to which He can ascend; and because ascension is local motion, a thing not in keeping with the Divine Nature, which is immovable and outside all place. Yet the Ascension is in keeping with Christ according to His human nature, which is limited by place, and can be the subject of motion. In this sense, then, we can say that Christ ascended into heaven as man, but not as God.

But if the phrase "according to" denote the cause of the Ascension, since Christ ascended into heaven in virtue of His Godhead, and not in virtue of His human nature, then it must be said that Christ ascended into heaven not as man, but as God. Hence Augustine says in a sermon on the Ascension: "It was our doing that the Son of man hung upon the cross; but it was His own doing that He ascended."

Reply to Objection 1. These utterances were spoken prophetically of God who was one day to become incarnate. Still it can be said that although to ascend does not belong to the Divine Nature properly, yet it can metaphorically; as, for instance, it is said "to ascend in the heart of man" (cf. Psalm 83:6), when his heart submits and humbles itself before God: and in the same way God is said to ascend metaphorically with regard to every creature, since He subjects it to Himself.

Reply to Objection 2. He who ascended is the same as He who descended. For Augustine says (De Symb. iv): "Who is it that descends? The God-Man. Who is it that ascends? The self-same God-Man." Nevertheless a twofold descent is attributed to Christ; one, whereby He is said to have descended from heaven, which is attributed to the God-Man according as He is God: for He is not to be understood as having descended by any local movement, but as having "emptied Himself," since "when He was in theform of God He took the form of a servant." For just as He is said to be emptied, not by losing His fulness, but because He took our littleness upon Himself, so likewise He is said to have descended from heaven, not that He deserted heaven, but because He assumed human nature in unity of person.

And there is another descent whereby He descended "into the lower regions of the earth," as is written Ephesians 4:9; and this is local descent: hence this belongs to Christ according to the condition of human nature.

Reply to Objection 3. Christ is said to ascend to the Father, inasmuch as He ascends to sit on the right hand of the Father; and this is befitting Christ in a measure according to His Divine Nature, and in a measure according to His human nature, as will be said later (58, 3)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ascension of Our Lord - Summa Theologica

Article 1. Whether it was fitting for Christ to ascend into heaven?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was not fitting for Christ to ascend into heaven. For the Philosopher says (De Coelo ii) that "things which are in a state of perfection possess their good without movement." But Christ was in a state of perfection, since He is the Sovereign Good in respect of His Divine Nature, and sovereignly glorified in respect of His human nature. Consequently, He has His good without movement. But ascension is movement. Therefore it was not fitting for Christ to ascend.

Objection 2. Further, whatever is moved, is moved on account of something better. But it was no better thing for Christ to be in heaven than upon earth, because He gained nothing either in soul or in body by being in heaven. Therefore it seems that Christ should not have ascended into heaven.

Objection 3. Further, the Son of God took human flesh for our salvation. But it would have been more beneficial for men if He had tarried always with us upon earth; thus He said to His disciples (Luke 17:22): "The days will come when you shall desire to see one day of the Son of man; and you shall not see it." Therefore it seems unfitting for Christ to have ascended into heaven.

Objection 4. Further, as Gregory says (Moral. xiv), Christ's body was in no way changed after the Resurrection. But He did not ascend into heaven immediately after rising again, for He said after the Resurrection (John 20:17): "I am not yet ascended to My Father." Therefore it seems that neither should He have ascended after forty days.

On the contrary, Are the words of our Lord (John 20:17): "I ascend to My Father and to your Father."

I answer that, The place ought to be in keeping with what is contained therein. Now by His Resurrection Christ entered upon an immortal and incorruptible life. But whereas our dwelling-place is one of generation and corruption, the heavenly place is one of incorruption. And consequently it was not fitting that Christ should remain upon earth after the Resurrection; but it was fitting that He should ascend to heaven.

Reply to Objection 1. That which is best and possesses its good without movement is God Himself, because He is utterly unchangeable, according to Malachi 3:6: "I am the Lord, and I change not." But every creature is changeable in some respect, as is evident from Augustine (Gen. ad lit. viii). And since the nature assumed by the Son of God remained a creature, as is clear from what was said above (2, 7; 16, 8,10; 20, 1), it is not unbecoming if some movement be attributed to it.

Reply to Objection 2. By ascending into heaven Christ acquired no addition to His essential glory either in body or in soul: nevertheless He did acquire something as to the fittingness of place, which pertains to the well-being of glory: not that His body acquired anything from a heavenly body by way of perfection or preservation; but merely out of a certain fittingness. Now this in a measure belonged to His glory; and He had a certain kind of joy from such fittingness, not indeed that He then began to derive joy from it when He ascended into heaven, but that He rejoiced thereat in a new way, as at a thing completed. Hence, on Psalm 15:11: "At Thy right hand are delights even unto the end," the gloss says: "I shall delight in sitting nigh to Thee, when I shall be taken away from the sight of men."

Reply to Objection 3. Although Christ's bodily presence was withdrawn from the faithful by the Ascension, still the presence of His Godhead is ever with the faithful, as He Himself says (Matthew 28:20): "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." For, "by ascending into heaven He did not abandon those whom He adopted," as Pope Leo says (De Resurrec., Serm. ii). But Christ's Ascension into heaven, whereby He withdrew His bodily presence from us, was more profitable for us than His bodily presence would have been.

First of all, in order to increase our faith, which is of things unseen. Hence our Lord said (John 16) that the Holy Ghost shall come and "convince the world . . . of justice," that is, of the justice "of those that believe," as Augustine says (Tract. xcv super Joan.): "For even to put the faithful beside the unbeliever is to put the unbeliever to shame"; wherefore he goes on to say (10): "'Because I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no longer'"--"For 'blessed are they that see not, yet believe.' Hence it is of our justice that the world is reproved: because 'you will believe in Me whom you shall not see.'"

Secondly, to uplift our hope: hence He says (John 14:3): "If I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be." For by placing in heaven the human nature which He assumed, Christ gave us the hope of going thither; since "wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together," as is written in Matthew 24:28. Hence it is written likewise (Micah 2:13): "He shall go up that shall open the way before them."

Thirdly, in order to direct the fervor of our charity to heavenly things. Hence the Apostle says (Colossians 3:1-2): "Seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth": for as is said (Matthew 6:21): "Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also." And since the Holy Ghost is love drawing us up to heavenly things, therefore our Lord said to His disciples (John 16:7): "It is expedient to you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." On which words Augustine says (Tract. xciv super Joan.): "Ye cannot receive the Spirit, so long as ye persist in knowing Christ according to the flesh. But when Christ withdrew in body, not only the Holy Ghost, but both Father and Son were present with them spiritually."

Reply to Objection 4. Although a heavenly place befitted Christ when He rose to immortal life, nevertheless He delayed the Ascension in order to confirm the truth of His Resurrection. Hence it is written (Acts 1:3), that "He showed Himself alive after His Passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them": upon which the gloss says that "because He was dead for forty hours, during forty days He established the fact of His being alive again. Or the forty days may be understood as a figure of this world, wherein Christ dwells in His Church: inasmuch as man is made out of the four elements, and is cautioned not to transgress the Decalogue."

Ascension - From The Baltimore Catechism

101. When did Christ ascend into heaven?

Christ ascended, body and soul, into heaven on Ascension Day, forty days after His Resurrection.

102. Why did Christ remain on earth forty days after His Resurrection?

Christ remained on earth forty days after His Resurrection to prove that He had truly risen from the dead and to complete the instruction of the apostles.

(a) Saint Paul tells us that Christ, after His Resurrection, appeared frequently to the apostles and to many others.

(b) Christ ascended into heaven from Mount Olivet, a hill outside Jerusalem.

103. What do we mean when we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty?

When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a king over all creatures.

(a) Even as man, Christ of Himself has dominion over all creation. His Kingship rests on the fact that His human nature is immediately united to the divine Person of the Son of God, and on the fact that He redeemed all men with His precious blood.

(b) On earth Christ exercises His kingly authority in spiritual matters through His Church. His Kingship extends also over temporal and civil matters.