Saturday, 3 September 2016

Devotion to The Sacred Heart, Its Theology, History and Philosophy part 13.

By  Rev. Joseph J. C. Petrovits, J.C.B., S.T.L.

Notwithstanding all unfavorable comments, the devotion continued its uninterrupted progress. In 1733, it was transplanted to Constantinople. A few years later Bishop Languet's Life of Blessed Margaret Mary was translated into Arabic by Father Fromage, S. J., and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart started on its triumphant conquest through the regions which once resounded with the echoes of the preaching of St. Paul. In 1732, Father Galiffet revised his Latin work, and reissued it in French with many additions and improvements. His labor was crowned with unexpected success. The work was received with unparalleled enthusiasm, and shortly translations into Italian, German, Spanish, Polish and other tongues followed successively in its wake. 

The Jansenists, the most bitter opponents of this cult, saw the sanction of their opinions in the decision rendered by the Sacred Congregation in 1729. Never were they more elated or more prodigal in the use of calumniating names and disparaging epithets. Now they became more intolerant than ever. "Cordioles" " Alacoquists" "Idolaters," names to designate the worshippers of the Sacred Heart, were unceasingly on their lips.

But no hostile resistance or barrier was sufficiently strong to check the progress of the devotion. New petitions were dispatched to Rome from different parts of the world, from Poland, Spain, America, Germany, Italy and the Orient, requesting the granting of the petition which had been refused on two previous occasions. At last the vox populi which, in this case, appeared to be also the vox Dei, was on its way to victory. Pope Clement XIII resumed the cause at the instance of the Polish Bishops who, in their document, called the attention of the Head of the Church to the fact that there were at least one thousand ninety Confraternities of the Sacred Heart erected over all the world. The cult was universally diffused, approved by numerous Bishops, accepted and encouraged by practically every religious congregation of that age. All this was urged as a justifiable ground for granting a special feast, Mass and Office. The request was granted for Poland and the Archconfraternity of Rome, on May 11th, 1765. Two months later the Visitation Nuns were favored with a similar privilege. The new impetus given by this signal concession contributed more to the spread of the devotion than any other factor connected with its history except perhaps the subsequent Beatification of Blessed Margaret Mary, the decree of which was issued by Pope Pius IX on August 19, 1864.

After this date other favors were from time to time bestowed on this Confraternity. In 1871, many petitions were sent to Rome to extend the feast to the universal Church, and to consecrate it to the Sacred Heart, but Pius IX, while complying with the first part of the request, was loath to take action as to the second part. In 1875, Father Ramiere, Director of the Apostolate of Prayer, submitted to the Supreme Pontiff a request signed by 525 Bishops, asking him to consecrate the whole world (Urbem et Orbem) to the Sacred Heart He also urged that a day be specified on which this consecration should be renewed yearly. Through a rescript given by the Sacred Congregation, the zealous Director was authorized to apprise the Bishops of the world that the Holy Father conceded a plenary indulgence to those who on June 16th, 1875, would consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart by reciting the formula composed by him. The then reigning Pontiff declined to take the initiative of consecrating the whole human race to the Sacred Heart.