The scrolls wound through the flowers contain the titles of Our Lady in the Litany of Loreto.



The Popes and Loreto

THE VOICES OF THE SUPREME PONTIFFS have been in one accord in the praise of Loreto. In the long history of Loreto, there has not been a single negative position taken by a Vicar of Christ. On the contrary, each century has its share of expression of papal approval and encouragement.

14th Century: Less than twenty years after the Holy House appeared in Italy in 1310, Clement V made some concessions in his Bull to German pilgrims who made vows at Loreto. Ten years later, John XXII confirmed certain rights of the canons to the tithes of the sanctuary. Urban V expressed a desire to visit Loreto on his official return to Rome from Avignon. He sent an image of the Madonna of Loreto to Tersatto. Gregory XI spoke of the miracles and granted further indulgences, as did his successors Urban VI and Boniface IX.

15th Century: Pope St. Martin V granted many privileges to those who visit the Holy House and these were confirmed by Popes Sixtus I and Leo X. In 1471, Pope Paul II, who was miraculously cured himself, said: "It is . . . the house of the glorious Virgin herself and her image, which was placed there by the wonderful mercy of God and where countless miracles are wrought by the power of the Mother of God." When the future Pope Paul II was on his way to Rome, he took sick in Ancona, was brought to the Holy House where he prayed for deliverance from his sickness. He was not only cured, he was told by our Blessed Mother that he would be elected the new pope. His was the first Bull to speak openly of the miraculous Translation. As pope, he granted a Holy Year in honor of our Lady at the beginning of the construction of the present basilica.

16th Century: Julius II presented Loreto with the cannonball which threatened his life at Mirandola and issued a Bull granting the sanctuary further indulgences. Leo X had the new basilica decorated with precious sculpture. Clement VII sent a commission to Tersatto and Palestine to investigate the Loreto tradition. St. Pius V had an Agnus Dei imprinted with the inscription, "This is truly the house of the flower that was Nazareth." Gregory XIII had four memorial tablets engraved with the Loreto story. Sixtus V proclaimed Loreto a city. Clement VIII allowed the Province of Piceno to celebrate the feast of the Translation. Urban VIII had other tablets installed and extended the liturgical celebration to the surrounding Marche district. Clement IX inserted the Translation history into the Roman Martyrology. Innocent XII approved the divine office of the Translation for the Marche. Benedict XIII extended the liturgical feast to all Italy and founded the Roman Congregation of Loreto which functioned until the reform of Pius X.

18th Century: Benedict XIV defended the tradition in his book on the canonization of the Saints.

19th Century: Pius VII restored the statue of our Lady to Loreto taken by Napoleon to France. Pius IX's miraculous cure at the Loreto Shrine is related below. His successor, Pope Leo XIII, in celebrating the sixth hundredth anniversary of the Translation of the Holy House granted further indulgences.
20th Century: Pius X followed suit in 1906 and 1914. Benedict XV restored to Italy the celebration of the Translation omitted in the liturgical reform of his predecessor. It was he who proclaimed the Virgin of Loreto chief Patroness of Aviators. Pius XI presented a new statue to the sanctuary after the disastrous fire of 1922. He is quoted as saying that he had fought more than one battle for Loreto. Pius XII allowed Masses to be celebrated there for 24 hours on March 25th. John XXIII was the first pope to visit Loreto since the loss of the Papal States in 1870. He came one week before convening the Second Vatican Council and revealed the purpose of his trip: "We have come here to invoke you [Mary] as the first Star of the Council, as the propitious light on our way which winds faithfully towards the great ecumenical assembly of universal expectation." The following words of his summarize the importance of Loreto: "Here is the wonderful synthesis of all the shrines of the world."

While Archbishop of Milan, Paul VI visited Loreto and blessed the sick pilgrims. Less than a year after Pope John Paul's election to the Papacy on September 8, 1979, just prior to his first visit to the United Nations, he went on pilgrimage to Loreto which he spoke of as the "first Marian shrine of Italy." There he entrusted this important mission to her care. During the 15th year of his Pontificate, on August 15,1993, to commemorate the seventh centenary of Loreto, the Pope sent an apostolic letter to his Excellency, Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, papal delegate for the shrine. In conclusion, in all, 50 popes have issued Bulls and Briefs testifying to the authenticity of the Holy House. And as if to show her special love for the Vicars of her Son, the Holy Fathers, the Virgin of Loreto has miraculously cured three of them-----Popes Paul II, Pius II and Pius IX.

The Loreto Pope Who Was Miraculously Cured

Pope Pius IX, who was beatified along with Pope John XXIII during the year 2000, had a special devotion to Our Lady of Loreto and with good reason. As a youth in Piceno, Italy he went annually with his mother to Loreto. When he was small he fell into a stream, after which he was frequently tortured with fatigue and fever. The doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause. He was a bright student but his future became clouded with epilepsy seizures. Upon leaving the seminary, he visited his close friend, Pope Pius VII, who comforted him with this wisdom: "God is mysterious. He throws down to raise up. He throws into the gutter the ones He wants to lift to the stars. Above the wildest storms gleams the Star of the Sea. Renounce yourself and place yourself in the hands of the Madonna. Call out to her 'save me!' The Virgin of Nazareth is your future." The young man went to Loreto with this prayer on his lips: "Mother, behold your child-----sick, miserable, useless. I am the shame of my family and disgust to myself. I dedicate myself to you-----save me. Immaculata, make me clean!"

He was cured and with the Pope's approval he returned to the seminary and became a priest, then archbishop of Spoleto, and eventually Cardinal of Imola. The conclave of 1846 elevated him to the papacy and he assumed the name of Pius IX. In 1854, he proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, thus officially inaugurating the Marian Era. During Vatican Council I he promulgated the definition of Papal Infallibility. As Pope he visited this his favorite shrine seven times.





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