Bl. Innocent XI

Today at the Vatican Basilica the feast of Bl. Innocent XI is observed.  Here is his Collect according to the Proprium Missarum ad usum Sacrosanctae Patriarchalis Basilicae Vaticanae … Proper of Masses for use at the Most Holy Patriarchal Vatican Basilica:

Deus, qui ad Ecclesiae tuae libertatem tuendam
moresque fidelium salubriter reformandos,
Beatum Innocentium pastorem suscitasti,
eius nobis intercessione concede ut, fortes in fide,
omnia adversantia superemus
et cum Christo victoriam consequamur aeternam.

O God, you raised up Blessed Innocent as a shepherd
in order to defend the liberty of Your Church
and wholesomely to reform the mores of the faithful,
by his intercession grant to us that, strong in the Faith,
we may overcome every adversity,
and attain an everlasting victory with Christ.

What was going on at the time of Bl. Innocent?

Born Benedetto Odescalchi in 1611 in Como, Italy, he was educated by the Jesuits and then studied law.  He held many ecclesiastical and civil offices. Pope Innocent X made him Cardinal and then legate to Ferrara. In 1650 he became bishop of Novara and there spent all the wealth of the diocese for the poor and infirm.  He returned to Rome where he was well known for his holiness and was much consulted.  He was elected Pope in the midst of great political struggles, especially with the French.  Right away he started to reform the Roman Curia get rid of nepotism and balance the budget.  He also worked to raise the level of holiness among the laity by starting in on the clergy.  As part of his program he issued a condemnation of certain bad theological ideas about morals and forbade their teaching under pain of excommunication.  He defended the freedom of the Church in England, France and Germany.

Pope Pius XII beatified Pope Innocent on 7 October 1956.  His tomb is in the Basilica of St. Peter on the right side of the nave, directly across the way from St. Pope Pius X’s tomb.  It is said that at the recognitio of his body, he was found to be incorrupt.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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