APPENDICES, SECTION I
SECRETARY OF STATE
TO HIS HOLINESS.
THE VATICAN, Nov. 18th, 1917.
To REV. FATHER A. PHILIPPE, C.SS.R.
From your letter of November 9th, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, has learned with very great satisfaction of the recent foundation of "A League of prayer, sacrifice, and good works for the return of nations and peoples, and of the whole social order, to God and to His Christ, through Holy Church."
Inspired by a veritable sacerdotal zeal, by a profound devotion to the Church, and by a desire to co-operate in the extension of the reign of Christ, in souls and in society as a whole, your noble and generous appeal answers now more than ever to the crying necessities of the times.
On the morrow of the trials, sufferings and unspeakable calamities which peoples and nations have borne during the most terrible of wars; following such an epoch of strife and hatred, at the moment when profound social transformations are about to appear; at this very time, when so many errors and destructive principles persist, perverting intelligences and the social order in general, directing their attacks on the supernatural life and on the Church, there is a duty incumbent on each and every one, to help in restoring to nations as well as to individuals that peace and happiness for which everybody longs and which can only be had in the possession of truth.
You have very justly remarked that justice, charity, and peace, which are the objects of human aspiration, cannot be assured to humanity, without the return of individuals, families, nations, and peoples to Christ and to His law, as well as to the Gospel and the Church, wherein alone are found the deposit of His doctrine and of His grace.
Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all men throughout the ages, must be the sovereign Ruler of individuals, nations, and countries, for all power is given to Him in Heaven and on earth, and the nations have been given to Him as inheritance.
Now the Church has been commissioned by our Lord Himself to carry out His work. Its mission through the ages is to procure the sanctification and salvation of souls, while at the same time it provides for the greatest possible well-being of nations and of peoples, by establishing the reign of truth, justice, charity and peace.
The Holy Father congratulates you on the very praiseworthy and very pious thought which has inspired you to found a League so much needed and so salutary. He desires that all Catholics worthy of the name should join the League. These, by the example of sincere Christian lives, both in public and in private, as well as by their prayers and good works would draw down God's blessing, hasten the return of society to true principles and bring about the restoration of the order of society in Jesus Christ through His Church.
For these reasons, His Holiness very willingly authorises the association to assume the title: "Apostolic League for the return of nations, of countries and of the whole fabric of society to God and to His Christ, through Holy Church."
To encourage the Clergy and the faithful to join the League and promote its interests the Sovereign Pontiff has deigned to accord to the members the following favours: [cf. Chap. xiii.]
(Signed), P. CARD. GASPARRI.