November 1978 Print

After a Death


Homily delivered by Msgr. Francois Ducaud-Bourget at a Mass for the repose of the soul of Giovanni Battisti Montini at the occupied Church of Saint Nicholas-du-Chardonnet, Paris, France

"Sic transit gloria mundi . . . "

During the ceremony of his coronation the new Pope hears those words while before him the oakum burns.

It is always moving to see the closing of a tomb on human grandeur. Hodie tibi, oras mihi—you today, me tomorrow. And when it has to do with the supreme head of millions of men, of him who was responsible for their eternal salvation, one trembles for him. And one prays.

It is with this feeling of compassion, religious, human and Christian, that we Catholics reach toward God, the divine Victim, God offering Himself to God to make up for our natural incapacity and to render to the justice of God what we cannot render to Him: the Sacrifice of the Mass, refuge from all our misery and of all our hope, comfort in our fears, and joy in eternal love.

We are Catholics, believers in the Revelation, the Holy Scripture, the Gospel, and in apostolic tradition as it has been taught for 2,000 years. We obey the Pope and the bishops who transmit to us the deposit of the Faith. We attempt to live as perfectly as possible the Faith of the Apostles, obeying those above us who transmit purely and integrally the authentic doctrine of the successors of Peter.

We pray, therefore, for the repose of Pope Paul VI because he never taught dogmatically any error, but we also pray for him because his personal philosophy allowed disorder to be introduced into the Church of today, this today which is only a moment in the line of eternity.

God alone can judge the intention of hearts and the errors of the spirit. But men witness the facts, the results and the acts. And we must ask the Lord of Mercy that order be restored, that union among souls, particularly among Catholics be restored, that "the peace which surpasses all understanding and which the world cannot give" will come to us through the merits of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by which Jesus Christ intervenes with God for us without cease.