Saint Anthony Mary Claret

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The Year 18701609


6th day. Public meeting, with cope and mitre. At 9:00 the profession of faith was made and the oath was taken.

7th day. Meeting at 9:00, with rochet and mantle.1610

8th day. Meeting at 9:00, with rochet and mantle.

Discipline. De Episcopis, Synodis et de Vicariis Generalibus.1611

De Sede Vacante.1612

On January 6th we made our profession of faith according to the formula prescribed by Pope Pius IV. Pope Pius IX made it and read it first by himself. Then the Bishop of Fabriano, Secretary of the Council, ascended the pulpit and read it aloud as we recited it together, standing. Then, by order of age, we approached the foot of the Pope and, kneeling down, each one of us with his hand on the book of the Holy Gospels said: I, N.N., Spondeo, voveo et iuro iuxta formulam praelectam, and, after invoking the help of God and the Holy Gospels, kissed the book and each of us returned to his assigned place. Each one said these words in his own rite, that is, in Latin, Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Chaldean, Greek and Syriac: in seven languages.

Finally, the Pope intoned the Te Deum, and all the Fathers continued, alternating with the choir.1613

14th day. Session at 9:00. Rochet and mantle.

Two schemata were handed out: De honestate clericorum,1614 and De Parvo Catechismo.1615

15th day. Session at 9:00. Rochet and mantle.1616 Monitum. 1617 Same for attending the Vatican. Ritus Orientales.1618

19th day. Monitum.

23rd day. On the Church.1619

24th day. Council with rochet and mantle.

25th day. Council with rochet and mantle.

27th day. Council with rochet and mantle.1620

28th day. Council with rochet and mantle.1621


31st day. Council with rochet and mantle.1622


2nd day. At 9:30.1623

3rd day. Council at 9:00.1624

4th day. Council at 9:00.

7th day. Council at 9:00.

8th day. Council at 9:00.1625

10th day. Council at 9:00.1626

14th day. Council at 9:001627 [22nd day. Suspension].1628

Titulus ordinandorum.1629

Titulus de oneribus Missarum.1630 Four on Religious.1631

Index Schematum.

Month of March

MSS Claret XII, 447-448.

Monitum. On attending Lenten services.1632

March 2nd. Ash Wednesday at nine thirty. Fur-trimmed cape.

March 4th. At 10:30, with rochet and mozzetta, in the hall of the Palace. Sermon.1633

6th day. 1st Sunday of Lent, at 10:00. Fur-trimmed cape.

Monitum on the schemata on the Church.1634

Monitum on the infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff.1635

Monitum on the same subject.1636

Decretum on lack of consecration of Holy Oils.1637

March 12th. At 10:30, with rochet and mantle, in the hall of the Palace.

13th day. 2nd Sunday of Lent, at 10:00. Fur-trimmed cape.

Monitum. Notice to attend on March 18th.1638

Schema on Faith.1639

18th day. At 9:00 we have to attend the Council with rochet and mantle.1640

22nd day. At nine, Council.1641

23rd day. At nine, Council.1642


24th day of April. The third public meeting of the Vatican Council has been held, and the schemata on faith have been voted on. 667 Fathers attended. The voting was done one by one. It lasted seven quarters of an hour and was unanimous.

The Holy Father gave a brief and very touching address, which he could hardly deliver because he was so moved.1643


MSS Claret XII, 381

4th day of May. At the Sacred Vatican Council, there was an address by the speaker for the Deputation on Church Discipline, and we were told how the formation of the small Catechism was to be understood.1644

He said that in his diocese there were three Catechisms: one for the youngest, around five years old, another for the middle group, and the other for the older group. I say: I, from 5 to 7; II, from 7 to 10; III, from 10 to ...

4. Daybook on the Clerical Life and Discipline

De vita et honestate clericorum

Introductory Note

In 1860, Claret had written: “I see that the world is lost, and I can find no better remedy for this than the formation of a good clergy who can guide the Father’s flock by their example. And I have no doubt that this will be achieved, if what I teach in the Well-Instructed Seminarian is put into practice.”1645

Clergy formation was one of the deepest concerns of the Saint’s life. Witness the endless rounds of retreats he gave to priests and seminarians, his work for the reform of the seminary in Cuba, his organization of the seminary of El Escorial, and his countless writings, including Advice to Priests and the two volumes of the Well-Instructed Seminarian. This explains why he followed the Council sessions De vita et honestate clericorum [On the Life and Probity of the Clergy] with such extraordinary attention that his notes on them virtually constitute a Daybook.

The text we present here is a good source of information for those interested in a more thorough notion of Claret’s ideology. Even when he sets down the ideas of others, it is usually clear that he is noting what agrees with his own turn of mind.


On the Schema in the Vatican Council1646

Mss. Claret, XII, 343-361

27th day of January, 1870

One Father remarked that clerics and priests cannot have a good spirit unless they make a holy retreat every year.

Corruptio optimi pessima, the same Father stated.1647 Another1648 said that every cleric or priest should have a plan or method of life and keep it most exactly. The main points of such a plan should be the following:

  1. Every year, a retreat.

  2. Every day. (This was the Bishop of the Canary Islands).1649

  3. Every day, mental prayer.

  4. Every day, spiritual reading.

  5. Particular and general examen of the day.

  6. Recite the Divine Office attente et devote.

  7. Celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with pauses, attentively and devoutly, with preparation before and thanksgiving afterwards.

  8. Confess frequently (e.g., every eight days), with preparation, sorrow, resolve, etc. Give thanks afterwards.

  9. Diverte a malo et fac bonum.1650

  10. Flee from idleness, impurity, hunting, visits, shows, gambling, etc.

  11. Et fac bonum.

  12. Study Theology, Scripture.

  13. The virtues.

  14. Piety, devotion.

  15. Love of Jesus.

  16. Devotion to Mary Most Holy.

  17. Keeping busy with one’s ministry, catechizing, preaching, hearing confessions, etc., etc.

Another1651 said that they should not have maids or housekeepers. That they should practice common life. On this matter.1652 On doing each and every common thing particularly well.

A Greek Father said: It is to be desired that we all have the same Symbol or Creed (as we [Latin] Catholics do), the same Discipline and the same Ritual. Our Discipline is not the same as yours. Anyone who commits a public sin is excommunicated and deprived of Orders.

This Greek Father is a Catholic.1653

January 28, 1870.

A Council Father1654 would require the following of all clerics:

1. Continuing prayer and spiritual reading.

2. Devotion to Jesus and Mary Most Holy. He reprehends those who think it is enough to recite the Divine Office and say Holy Mass.

3. He reprehends clerics trafficking and administering the goods of the masters of this world.

4. The same goes for attending shows, hunting, usury and involvement in politics. They should live and work in keeping with what their vocation calls for.

Another1655said: Clergy should not have women in their service, except for very close relatives. And there is even danger with these, because of their own servants or friends who come to visit them. If they must have a woman in their employ, she should be more than 40 years old.

All priests should be engaged in administration.

Retreat every year. Bishops, Canons, etc.

Conferences on moral theology and rubrics.

Yearly licensing and examinations, except for those over 40.

Another1656reproves the idle lives of priests.

They should not be allowed to be traveling about without the permission of their Prelate.

They should not be allowed to cohabit with women.

They should not spend money superfluously, even on relatives.

Retreat every year, or at the very least, every two years.

Every day, mental prayer. Conferences. Study.

Clerical dress, tonsure.

Diocesan and provincial synods.

Another1657spoke against ambition for honors such as canonries, etc., and against seeking simony from worldly persons, etc.

Reproves cohabiting with women. Commends congregations or brotherhoods formed by some clergy and pastors who make a promise of poverty and chastity, and have men rather than women in their employ. There are already 200 of them. Would that this kind of fraternity would spread throughout the world!

The day before, five Prelates spoke very well on clerical discipline. All said that the clergy should make a yearly retreat, and if some could not, then they should do so at least every two years.

January 31, 1870

Continuation of de Vita et Disciplina.

On clerical dress.1658

On the garments of John the Baptist.

Reproved luxury and negligence, not poverty.

The robe of Jesus Christ reached to the ankle.

What John saw in the Apocalypse (7:9),

The Councils of Vienne, of Trent. Popes Clement V, Benedict XIV.

Sixtus V moderated the Order of St. Stephen

This Father asks that it [clerical garb] be made a general disposition for all, or that Provincial Councils pronounce it to be worn.

Seminaries. Teaching humility and mental prayer, etc.

Fleeing from and not wearing governmental ribbons of honor.

Uniformity of clerical dress; let Provincial Councils hand down dispositions on this (This by the Bishop of Urgell).1659

He also spoke on retreats and frequent prayer.

Yet another1660 spoke on clerical customs.

On study, spiritual reading, cassock and common life.

Let women [servants] be close relatives, very virtuous and of a certain age.

The goods of the clergy are for worship and the poor.

Let the Bishop order all his clergy to make their retreat. At least every two years, if they cannot do so every year.

Confirm all that was said at the Council of Trent, e.g., concubinage.

This one was the Bishop of Vic.1661

Confession every eight to fifteen days. He gave strong reasons.

Mass: with preparation, thanksgiving, observing rubrics. Never hasty, as St. Liguori says. And being watchful...

Mental prayer: at least a half an hour everyday.

Retreat every year, or if they can’t, at least every two years.

Clerical garb. Respective kinds of tonsure, according to the Order.

Women: relatives, or if not relatives, 40 years old.

1. Study and virtue. We are the lux mundi, the sal terrae.1662

2. Conferences.

3. Retreat every year.

4. Every Sunday, catechize, preach to people.

5. This Father wants all clerics and priests to teach youth. He said that the need was great and that it is a very powerful means to save society.1663 He declaimed with great fervor and enthusiasm.

February 3, 1870

1. Clergy who spend money uselessly, and relatives who inherit from clergy, are obliged to make restitution.

2. Concerning the impurity of priests, it [their discipline] is left to the prudence of their Prelate; it is to be carried out in keeping with what the Council of Trent says. Conjectures a Prelate may form, e.g. regarding women, disobedience.1664

An Eastern Prelate1665 asks for diversity of ritual but uniformity of discipline.

Missionaries should be able to practice Medicine.1666

But not other priests, because of the inconveniences it would entail.

Priests must be concerned with their worthiness, holiness and perfection.

Bad and incorrigible priests should be defrocked and thrown out.

Bishops and pastors should say the Mass pro populo; missionaries should not.

How the breviary should be recited.

There are 3 titles of ordination: benefice, patrimony and title of missionary, which the Bishop should take into account when he assigns a curacy to one who is worn out from missioning.

He asks that the word concubinary be removed from the schema, and that, should someone incur it, he be brought before his Prelate, as the Council of Trent disposes. What would the wicked say if this word were used in the Vatican Council? It would give rise to scandal.

A Maronite1667 asks that a yearly retreat be mandatory.

Priests and Friars should be busy with studies and not be traveling idly from place to place.1668

Clerics should be enrolled in some church, and be occupied with instruction and with administering the sacraments.

Conferences. Do not give clergy licenses without examinations, and then for no more than a year. That way they will study more.

Seminaries should be well run and governed.

Retreats. Studies for priests.1669

Do away with idleness by having them teach in Seminaries, etc.

On avarice, independence, rebelliousness, trafficking in business.

On clerical garb. The Prelate should fine clergy who set it aside.1670

On clergy who appeal against their Bishops and resort to force.

On the independence in which some clergy live, having recourse to civil tribunals. Woe to them!

On wicked, revolutionary, apostate and incontinent clergy.1671

Priests must wear cassocks. Council of Baltimore, 1862.

The Pontifical says [of clerical garb]: It is like a Guardian Angel, helping us to avoid many sins.

A great many complain that governments have [Church-State] Patronages that they should not have, since they only use them to enslave and oppress the Church.

This is how the Fathers have spoken of them at the Vatican Council.

Some Fathers of the Vatican Council have lamented and complained about the system of Patronage, e.g., in [Latin] America. What right do they have to such Patronage? The Spaniards had the Patronage, and Popes favored them with great privileges; but at present they do not deserve such Patronages, because of their rebellion against Isabella the Catholic and Ferdinand, against Charles V, Philip II and their successors, etc. Thus it can be said that they are totally unworthy of such Patronage. Moreover, under the pretext of these Patronages, they do nothing but oppress the Church.

February 4, 1870

Good example from the clergy is most important.1672

The Vatican Council should and will be the effective medicine required. St. Gregory says: In nobis est voluntas peccandi. We must repress this evil will. Tamquam aqua dilabimur.1673

The people say that a priest that sins does not believe.

The scandal a priest gives by what he says and does.

How shall we correct the faithful if priests give bad example?

Pietas super omnia:1674 Woe to him who has learning alone, without piety...!

The young man was given tonsure, subdiaconate and the rest by his own voluntary asking. At that time he bound himself to be a good cleric, to work, suffer and imitate Jesus Christ.

A cleric is obliged to dress as a cleric, which means wearing cassock and roman collar of the right color and form, and having the kind of tonsure determined by synodal and provincial councils.

He who loves his state, loves its garb, whether it is a soldier’s uniform or a friar’s habit.

As the sun gives light and warmth, so should a good priest.

A priest must not waste his time talking with worldly people, or with women, or on visits, outings, hunting, gambling, spectacles or theaters, or studying medicine or law, but rather he should spend it on the science of serving God and attending to the spiritual welfare of his neighbor. Cohabiting with women is dangerous and must therefore always be avoided. Women have a venom all their own. A woman can throw the ship off course. How well we know.

Prelates, priests and clerics should make retreats in a retreat house for the space of 5, 8 or 10 days every year.

The Prelate who manages to have a well-run and well-governed seminary is working for himself and for his diocese. Above all, he should form them more in piety than in learning, because learning without piety makes them proud, vain and overbearing.

On the cassock. In heaven, God clothes priests in a garment of glory; on earth, He clothes them with the cassock.1675

Bad priests are never short of excuses [for not wearing the cassock]; good priests always wear it. Avoid priests who do not wear it...

Though one’s clothes be poor, cleanliness is always good.

Honors should not be asked for, sought or procured; but if they come unsought, they may be accepted so long as we do not become attached to them.

Community for clerics should be recommended, though not commanded or forced, lest it breed enmity. For good clerics find it easy to live together, while bad ones are opposed to it.

This was a Greek Father, who spoke on the obligation to pray.1676

This was a Chaldean Father,1677 who spoke on the zeal priests must have for the salvation of souls, with all patience, humility and charity, just as Jesus Christ received the woman caught in adultery,1678 the Samaritan Woman1679 and the Magdalene.1680

The man who fell among thieves was passed over by a Levite and a Priest, but the Samaritan ministered to him with oil and wine.

Alas! There are those who do not want to heal, those who want to heal but with oil alone, or those who want to heal but with wine alone, keeping silent about sins! That is, there are some who do not want to hear confessions, others who hear confessions poorly because they are too soft and use oil alone, and others who hear confessions poorly because they are too rigid and use wine alone.1681

Then there was a Father from Brazil,1682 who spoke of charity and the priestly spirit.

He praised Seminaries. In France, he has 100 young men in Seminaries, and in Rome, too. Later they come home and do wonders. In Rome, they are educated and formed by the Jesuits. I have preached to them and given them Communion.1683 They are brought up with extraordinary care, especially in chastity. Each bed is surrounded with a screen locked with a key.

Mitte operarios... .1684

The people there long for the Catholic Religion.

But they have a plague of bad priests emigrated from Europe, whom they call locusts, because of the evil they do.

In the provincial or national synod of Baltimore, it was agreed not to accept a priest unless he brought letters of recommendation from his own Prelate.

February 7, 1870

A French Bishop1685 objected when another Bishop complained that a wicked clergyman had assassinated the Archbishop of Paris.

He said that it was not a French priest, but one from another country, who had killed the Archbishop, because, he said, the French clergy are wise, pious, grave and chaste. Moreover, they are zealous. Many of them go to the Missions and spread good everywhere, in personnel, money, books, etc.

Their seminaries are well set up and maintained.

They study two years of Philosophy and three of Theology.

Every year both students and priests make a retreat.

They receive tonsure and cassock and keep wearing them ever after.

They are well informed about their vocation.

Another1686 spoke of daily prayer and yearly retreats. These are the means to have good priests.

As the Apostle said: Attende tibi et doctrinae.1687 Reading from Rodríguez.

Studies the students should have: Philosophy, Theology, Canon Law. Every day they should study the Bible for half an hour.

They should recite the Breviary well. And say Holy Mass well.

Work and zeal for the glory of God and the good of souls. With prudent zeal and well-ordered charity, they should catechize, hear confessions and keep themselves busy with good works.

A priest’s life must be the Gospel put into practice.1688

Haec sunt arma militiae nostrae: 1689 piety and learning. I say both sacred and profane learning.1690

Good priests are the Lux Diei [Light of Day] and bad men are the lux noctis [light of night]. Oh, if we only had many Augustines and Jeromes to confront the errors of our day!...

On commerce: Priests need to know no other commerce than that of the Gospel. Negotiamini dum venio.1691 Of the five and the two talents [cf. Mt 25:24-30].

On vocation: This is the gate. He who does not enter through the gate of vocation, enters in order to steal [cf. Jn 10:1-10]. He is a wolf who leaps over it to kill the sheep.1692

Let the Bishop see to it that the canons of the Council of Trent are observed. All desire the same.1693

Qui timet Domino nihil negli[gi]t.1694 He will not forget or neglect the virtues.

Priests should be assigned to a church and not be allowed to travel about from place to place at their own whim.

Some Fathers of the Vatican Council have complained with great feeling that there are some priests who ask for and receive more Mass intentions than they can celebrate, so that afterwards they go unsaid.

February 8, 1870

It should be mandatory for clergy to have mental prayer every day and to make a retreat every year.1695

Clerical garb should be recommended. All the French clergy wear it and are indeed very edifying.

All clergy should abstain from shows, theaters, etc., because they are harmful both to eyes and to ears.

All should recite the Divine Office attente et devote.

The pastor and his assistant should live together. Vae soli.1696

Canons should live together, or at least all of them who can do so should do so.

Try to put into practice what St. Charles Borromeo determined for synods.

This Father1697 strongly defended the Breviary against others who had overly criticized it, and he received a great round of applause in the council because he spoke well of the Breviary.

He said that the Breviary is not a book of eloquence, but a handbook of prayer, and that it contains many precious things: there are hymns not lacking in elegance, Sacred Scripture, homilies by the Fathers of the Church, etc.

Finally, we must consider that we have received it from the Church.

This is an Armenian Father,1698 who said that we priests must always take Mary Most Holy as our model.

He noted that in his country, where priests are either celibate or married, there is a great difference between the former and the latter.

This Father1699 lamented that there are some priests who do not correspond with their mission; they neither catechize nor preach nor hear confessions, etc., etc. And this at a time when there is such great need.

They should aspire to perfection and set a good example for their people.

The goods of the clergy must serve for worship, for the poor, for pious works.

Clergy should not make their wills in favor of relatives, maids, housekeepers, etc., but for worship, the poor, etc.

This Father1700 said that in the Schema, mention should be made of the excellency of the priesthood and its respective duties.

On clerical dress, which the Prelate should strive to provide for.

On the vocation of the clergy.

He greatly lauded the dispositions of his predecessor, which he had striven to maintain with all fidelity: that when boys of 12 or of whatever age they might be when they came to enter the Seminary, would make a ten-day retreat, at which the meditations and talks had to be on the dignity and duties of the priesthood, and on the virtue and learning required for it. When they were twenty years old, they did the same and on the same subjects.

Every year a retreat was held in the seminary.

Canons, pastors and other clergy, led by their Bishop, had to make this retreat.

He also spoke very well of the cassock, which all clergy must wear and which must never be put aside, in the same fashion as the French observe.

It cannot be tolerated to have women in the service of priests. he called attention to the inconveniences, sins and scandals that follow from this.

He said that the ecumenical Vatican Council should recommend common life for clergy, without women, and that prelates should foster it in their respective dioceses.

He spoke of the holy usage or practice of mental and vocal prayer, and of spiritual reading.

This one said that everything relating to clerical life and customs that had already been defined at the Council of Trent, should be included in this Council of the Vatican.

On priestly dignity, zeal and other virtues and obligations.

That the priest must become conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, as St. Paul says, in order to be saved.1701

He said that there were many who were being lost forever.

One must be able to say with St. Paul: Vivo autem, iam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus.1702

That zealous Prelates should promote diocesan and provincial synods.

That the spirit of Christ is always the same; it never changes.

That there is no custom that can prevail against the Gospel.

Like the brothers of Joseph, he said: Merito haec patimur quia peccavimus.1703 Are not the sins of priests the cause of the misfortunes which we are suffering and lamenting?

He said many very noteworthy things about priests, with great zeal and fervor. It seems that the Lord was keeping this Prelate, like the good wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee,1704 until the last, for he was the last to speak on the clergy, and he did so quite wonderfully. He was a religious of St. Dominic.1705 A number of times he cited St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs, who attended the Council of Trent and worked so hard. I believe it would be difficult to find a match for this Prelate among his religious confreres or the Hierarchy.1706

Glory be to God, to Mary Most Holy, to St. Dominic1707 and to his Religious Order!1708

5. Discourse on Papal Infallibility

(Latin Original: MSS Claret XII, 451-456;

Castilian Original: ibid., 457-463)

Introductory Note

Saint Anthony Mary Claret took the floor only once during the general congregations of the Council. This was during the discussion on the desirability of defining the dogma of papal infallibility.

On January 21, 1870, the schema de Ecclesia Christi was distributed to the Council Fathers. The part dealing with the theme of papal infallibility provoked considerable agitation both inside and outside the council hall. The debate aroused the zeal of a large number of the Council members, who regarded the definition of this dogma to be as necessary as their opposite numbers deemed it to be inopportune.

Claret was one of the 400 Fathers who on January 28, 1870 signed a petition asking for the definition of the dogma of infallibility, as being not only opportune, but sub omni respectu ineluctabiliter necessaria.1709

On May 13th, Bishop Pie of Poitiers read the schema de Ecclesia.1710 The discussion began on the 14th and lasted three weeks. Claret followed it with great interest, but his health was failing. On the 14th he wrote to Fr. Xifré: “Sometimes I leave the Council with my head charged like a bomb.”1711 On the 18th he asked to speak,1712 but had to wait his turn until the 31st. On the 29th he had a stroke.1713 The cause, the Saint tells us, was simply his immense zeal to defend the rights of the Holy Father: “Since I cannot compromise on this matter for anything or with anyone..., upon hearing the errors, and even blasphemies and heresies which were being stated, I had such a rush of indignation and zeal that the blood rushed to my head and produced a cerebral incident. My mouth could not contain the saliva, which ran down involuntarily on one side, especially the side on which I have the scar of the wound I received in Cuba.”1714 In fact, some of the statements made at the Council had been quite inflammatory; in the previous day’s session, the presidency was obliged to call Bishop Augustine Vérot of Savannah, to order.

With the help of the medical treatments prescribed by the doctor, the Saint recovered sufficiently to deliver his address. The 62nd congregation was held on May 31, 1870. After Mass, celebrated by Abp. Pedro Puch y Solona of La Plata, five speakers took the floor: Abp. André Schaepman of Utrecht, Joseph Valerga, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Abp. Anthony Mary Claret of Trajanópolis, Abp. John Purcell of Cincinnati, and Capuchin Abp. Thomas Connolly of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Abp. Claret’s address was the witness of a martyr of the faith, who showed his scars – the wounds of Christ. It was the call of a Saint who, with great integrity and gospel freedom, denounced the passions that were clouding the minds of some of those present. The speakers for the opposition had been repeating themselves endlessly. They could not be convinced by the reasons offered by the other side. Therefore, at this particular moment, the intervention of a Saint proved most opportune.

The impression he made on the Council was enormous, although not to one of the young stenographers.1715 Bp. Vilamitjana of Tortosa was more appreciative: “Fr. Claret said such things and in such a way as to impress the Fathers vividly: I doubt that many of them will forget it for the rest of their lives. I myself heard one of the most important South American Prelates enthusiastically comparing Fr. Claret with Paphnutius [Saint whose intervention at the Council of Nicaea was decisive in large part because of the Fathers’ admiration for the wounds he had received during persecution]..., and in my opinion, not without reason.”1716 The Secretary of the Council, speaking with Claret’s chaplain, Fr. Lorenzo Puig, exclaimed: “Truly, the bishop is a confessor of the faith!”1717

The text opens with a short introductory paragraph giving the setting for the discourse.


The dogmatic declaration of the infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff is highly necessary for the Church. It is a matter greatly feared by evil men. For this reason they made every possible effort to block it at the Councils of Florence and Trent, and some are working very hard in this Vatican Council to see that it should not be declared.1718

I shall relate here some words I spoke in Latin (which I also present here in Castilian) at the gathering of May 31, 1870.


Omnia Tempus habent, tempus est tacendi. et tempus loquendi.1719

Usque modo, Emmi. et Rmi. Patres, tacui in hoc sacro Concilio, sed cum audissem quaedam verba mihi valde displicentia,359cogitavi in corde meo quod in conscientia teneor loqui, timens illud Vae Isaiae Prophetae: Vae mihi quia tacui.360

Et sic loquar de Summi Romani Pontificis infallibilitate, sicut legitur in schemate.

Et dico: lectis sacris Scripturis per expositores catholicos explicatis, considerata traditione, nunquam interrupta, post profundam meditationem verborum Sanctorum Patrum, Sacrorum Conciliorum, rationesque Theologorum quas brevitatis gratia non referam, quia jam per alios oratores narratae sunt: dico, summaque convictione ductus assero: Summum Pontificem esse infallibilem in eo sensu et modo quo tenetur in Ecclesia Catholica, Apostolica, Romana juxta explicationem datam in hac sacra Aula.

Haec est fides mea, ac vehementer desidero ut haec sit fides omnium: ne timeantur homines prudentia huius mundi suffulti, prudentia revera inimica Dei,361haec est prudentia qua Satanas transfiguratur in Angelum lucis,362haec prudentia nociva est Auctoritati Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, haec tandem prudentia est auxiliatrix superbiae eorum qui oderunt Deum, quae quidem superbia, ut ait Propheta, ascendit simper.363

Non dubito, E[minentissimi] et R[everendissimi] PP. [= Patres], quod haec declaratio dogmatica de infallibilitate Summi Romani Pontificis erit ventilabrum, quo Dominus Noster Jesuschristus purgabit aream suam et congregabit triticum in horreum, paleas autem comburet igne inestinguibili.364

Haec declaratio dividet lucem a tenebris.365

Utinam in confessione huius veritatis meum sanguinem effundere possem, et sustinere mortem...! Utinam consummare valeam sacrificium anno millesimo octingentesimo quinquagesimo sexto inchoatum, descendens de ambone post praedicationem de fide et moribus.366

Ego Stigmata Domini Jesu in corpore meo porto.367

Utinam consummare possem cursum meum confitens ex abundantia cordis mei hanc magnam veritatem: Credo Romanum Pontificem esse infallibilem.

Vehementer cupio, E[minentissimi] et R[everendissimi] PP. [= Patres], ut omnes cognoscamus et confiteamur hanc veritatem.

In vita S[anc]tae Teresiae legitur quod Dominus lesus apparuit ei, et dixit: «Filia mea, omne malum huius mundi provenit quia homines non intelligunt Sacras Scripturas».368

Re quidem vera. Si homines intelligerent Sacras Scripturas, clare et aperte viderent hanc veritatem de Summi Romani Pontificis infallibilitate, quae quidem veritas in Evangelio con[tin]etur.

Sed quare non intelliguntur Sacrae Scripturae? Tres sunt causae:

1.ª Quia homines non habent amorem Dei, ut dixit idem Iesus Sanctae Teresiae.369

2.ª Quia non habent humilitatem, ut legitur in Evangelio: Confiteor tibi Pater Domine coeli et terrae, quia abscondisti haec a Sapientibus et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis.370

3.ª Tandem quia sunt nonnulli qui nolunt intelligere ut bene agant.

Dicamus igitur cum Propheta David: Deus misereatur nostri et benedicat nobis, illuminet vultum suum super nos et misereatur nostri.371 Dixi.

Die 31 Maii an. 1870.

Most Eminent Presiders,

Most Eminent and Most Reverend Fathers:

Until now, I have been silent in this sacred Council, but after hearing a few days ago (the 17th of this month)1720certain words that were extremely displeasing to me, I resolved in my heart that I must in conscience speak out, for fear of incurring that great “Vae!” of the Prophet Isaiah: Woe is me, because I have held my peace!1721

Therefore I shall speak out on the infallibility of the Supreme Roman Pontiff, in accord with the schema we have in hand.

This is what I say: Having read the Holy Scriptures as explained by Catholic expositors, having considered uninterrupted tradition, and having meditated deeply on the words of the Holy Fathers of the Church and of the Sacred Councils, as well as the reasons presented by theologians (which for brevity’s sake I shall not rehearse here since other speakers have already stated them) – in view of all these, I say: That I am most highly convinced and led by this conviction do here assert that the Supreme Roman Pontiff is infallible, in the sense and manner that is held by the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, according to the explanation given in this sacred Hall.

This is my belief, and in full earnestness I desire that it should be the belief of all. Let us not be afraid of those men who have no other support than the prudence of this world – a prudence which is, in fact, the enemy of God.1722 This is the “prudence” whereby Satan transforms himself into an angel of light.1723 This “prudence” is harmful to the authority of the Holy Roman Church. In fine, this “prudence“ is the handmaid of the pride of those who hate God, a pride which, as the Royal Prophet says, arises continually.1724

I have no doubt, Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, that this dogmatic declaration of the infallibility of the Supreme Roman Pontiff will be the winnowing fan with which our Lord Jesus Christ will purge his threshing floor, gathering the wheat into his barn and burning the chaff in unquenchable fire.1725

This declaration will separate the light from the darkness.1726

Would that in confessing this truth I might shed my blood and undergo death itself! Would that I might consummate the sacrifice that began on the Vigil of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy in 1856, as I descended the pulpit after preaching on faith and seemly customs.1727

For I bear in my body the Wounds of the Lord Jesus,1728 as you yourselves can see on my face and on my arm.

Would that I might finish my course while confessing, out of the abundance of my heart, this great truth: I believe that the Roman Pontiff is infallible!

I vehemently desire, Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, that all of us should acknowledge and confess this truth.

In the Life of St. Teresa we read that the Lord Jesus appeared to her and said: “My daughter, all the evils of this world come from the fact that men do not understand the Sacred Scriptures.”1729

And in truth, if all men understood the Sacred Scriptures, they would clearly and openly see this truth of the Supreme Roman Pontiff’s infallibility, since this truth is contained in the Gospel.

But why is it that the Scriptures are not understood? There are three reasons:

1. Because men do not have the love of God, as Jesus himself told St. Teresa.1730

2. Because they do not have humility, as the Gospel says: I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the learned and the clever, and have revealed them to the merest children.1731

3. Finally, because there are some who do not want to understand them, because they do not wish to do good.

Let us say, then, with the Prophet David: May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us and have pity on us.1732

I have spoken, this 31st day of May of the year 1870.

This short discourse greatly pleased the Council Fathers because of its brevity, clarity and feeling, besides other circumstance which I will pass over here.1733

Anthony Mary Claret, Archbishop of Trajanópolis.1734

In the sacred Vatican Council,

On the 18th day of July, 1870.

The infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, had been defined.1735

This truth has always been believed in the Catholic, Roman and Apostolic Church, and has always been taught in schools of sound theology. But as in our day Satan has stirred up so many errors and deceits. the Supreme Pontiff, with the approval of the Fathers of the sacred Vatican Council, has seen fit to declare this great truth and set it up as a beacon, so that the faithful who voyage on the perilous sea of this world may be able to discern the harbor of truth1736 and virtue and avoid the reefs of error and vice.

The Decree ends with these precise and thundering words:

Si quis autem huic Nostrae Definitioni contradicere, quod Deus avertat, praesumpserit, anathema sit.

“So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.1737

6. Address to the Spanish Bishopson Seminaries

(MSS Claret XII, 363-366, probably delivered on February 1, 1870)

Introductory Note

From the amount of data that he gathered on the subject, we can tell how much importance he attached to reforming the clergy. In his view, this reform should begin with seminaries and seminarians, since he felt that even the formation received in childhood was decisive. Hence, when the Council began discussing the schema de vita et honestate clericorum [On the Life and Probity of the Clergy], he did all he could to imbue others with his own ideas, because he knew from long experience how important they were. Although he himself did not deem it opportune to address the whole Council directly, he strove to influence it indirectly through the Spanish contingent at one of their regular meetings in the Palazzo Gabrielli.

We have the handwritten outline he used for this address. It deals with practical ways of implementing the ideas set forth in the various congregations of the Council. Claret focuses on three main points: the care of boys (creating an environment favorable to their vocation), minor seminaries, and major seminaries. What he offers is really a résumé of all that he had written and practiced in this area.

We do not know the day on which he delivered this address, but we can make an educated guess, based on two established data. He spoke during the time during which the topic of priests was being discussed in the Council and, as he himself remarks, after the Bishops of Urgell and Vic had delivered their addresses. These bishops spoke on January 31, 1870, and the general discussions ended on February 8th. If we exclude the days when general congregations were held or when choral Mass was celebrated, then only February 1st through 5th were available. We believe that it was probably the 1st, since the Saint refers to the bishops’ addresses as having taken place in the immediate past: “What the bishops… have [just] said concerning…”


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