Since many of our readers benefited from last Saturday's posting showing Card. Giuseppe Siri's clear approval of John XXIII as the valid Pope, today we post another document by the late Archbishop of Genoa. It is a short pastoral letter Card. Siri issued to the parishes of his Archdiocese preparing them to welcome John Paul II for his visit to Genoa in September 1985.
As in the preceding document, the content of this letter makes it evident that Card. Siri considered John Paul II as the valid Pope. This evidence puts to rest the fabrication some traditionalists are spreading that Siri never acknowledged this since he himself had been elected pope under the name of Gregory XVII and was forced to remain silent under strong pressure by the supposed usurper conciliar Popes.
We reproduce first our English translation of Card. Siri's pastoral letter, and below it a photocopy of the Italian text of the original posted on the Cardinal Siri website. We put in boldface the more significant parts. To read the Italian text in larger print, click here.
Pastoral Letter for Lent 1985
The Pope Comes to Genoa !
Dear brethren, dear faithful,
On Christmas day 1984 I announced that the Sovereign Pontiff would come to Genoa. Now I can add that not only he will dedicate Sunday, September 22, to us, but also that he will give us Saturday afternoon of the 21st, thus having more time to be with the people. This visit is a great event. To make this clear, I invite you to make some reflections with me.
First, let us recall some past history. To escape the disorder in Rome, Pope Gelasius II agreed to be taken to Genoa by ship and spent some time in our city. It was he who consecrated San Lorenzo Cathedral in our city in 1118. Pope Innocent IV, a Genovese of the Fieschi family, also lived here for some time after he left Rome when he was threatened by Frederick II. Pope Gregory XI stayed in Genoa on his return of the Holy See to Rome after the exile in Avignon. It was actually in our city that St. Catherine of Siena, after conquering his many doubts, convinced him to continue the trip and restore the Apostolic See to the Eternal City.
In the 14th century, Urban IV had the longest stay in Genoa, residing in the building that still today is called the ‘Commenda.’ The last Pope to be here, two times in fact, was Pius VII: The first time he came through the city as the prisoner of Napoleon in 1809. The second time, he returned after being freed to fulfill the promise he had made in prison to crown Our Lady of Mercy in Savoy. He remained here for 15 days and stayed in an illustrious Genovese palace. On Ascension Day, accompanied by 15 Cardinals, he said a Cappella Papale Mass at the Church of the Annunciation [Annunziata]. One hundred and seventy years have passed! Now History returns!
John Paul II is changing the History of the Popes. Taking advantage of the changes of our times, with its condition for rapid travel, he brings the solicitude of a Pastor directly to the world. This is the point. He traverses the roads of the world to raise the thoughts of men toward their Creator, thus offering crucial support to their moral conscience, for without God moral conscience either does not exist or does not resist any of the great temptations. We must value the importance of this service he renders to mankind: without that conscience, treatises are useless and serve only to deceive men.
But it is not just for this that the Pope flies throughout the continents. He goes as the Pastor of souls: He reminds men of the truths that save; he confirms them in Faith and Hope; he raises Charity; he defends the weak with the Truth; he calls for Justice. He does all this making a visible and continuous sacrifice. His visits are pastoral. He will also have a pastoral visit with us.
I invited the Pope to the Santuario della Guardia (Sanctuary of the Madonna of Guardia), and he, a great devotee of the Madonna, joyfully accepted, confirming us in our confidence in the Blessed Virgin. The Sanctuary is the meeting point of all of us. The solutions for concerns of our city - which we still have among us - always pass through that Hill of Guardia, giving us the most secure protection.
We are expecting much from this visit. It would be unfair to be silent about this.
The Pope will be with us following a schedule whose details will become public in due time.
Now I invite you to reflect on who is the Pope. The value of the visit relies on this.
He is the Vicar of Christ. The words of the Gospel are applied to John Paul II since the moment of his election, just as they were to Peter: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven” (Mt 16:18). The dignity of the Pope reflects something of the Majesty of God, and when we see him, simple and amiable with everyone, we should never forget that he is the Vicar of Christ
Because of his office, his blessing is worth more than all other blessings; for the same reason his prayers and all his actions are more important than the prayers and actions of all other men. To receive the Pope well, we should consider him not just as a sovereign whose influence has no equal in the world, but as we would receive Jesus Christ Himself.
Since on this happy occasion, the Faith is the light that illuminates everything and shows what the visit of a Pope is and how it can bring us closer to the Lord, we must make a spiritual preparation. Information on this will be forthcoming.
The visit of the Pope not only aligns us with him, but with God!