Encyclical of Pope Pius XII
Promulgated on May 1, 1946
To the Patriarchs Primates, Archbishops, and other Ordinaries at Peace and in
Communion with the Apostolic See.
The Christian people have never ceased to invoke and experience the Blessed
Virgin Mary's assistance, and therefore they have, at all times, venerated her
with ever growing devotion.
2. And so, because love when it is true and deeply felt tends of its own nature
to manifest itself through ever renewed demonstrations, the faithful have vied
with one another all through the centuries in expressing at all times their
ardent piety toward the Queen of Heaven. In our opinion, this is the reason why,
for a long time past, numerous petitions (those received from 1849 to 1940 have
been gathered in two volumes which, accompanied with suitable comments, have
been recently printed), from cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops,
priests, religious of both sexes, associations, universities and innumerable
private persons have reached the Holy See, all begging that the bodily
Assumption into heaven of the Blessed Virgin should be defined and proclaimed as
a dogma of faith. And certainly no one is unaware of the fact that this was
fervently requested by almost two hundred fathers in the Vatican Council.
3. But We, who are charged with the care of defending and developing the Kingdom
of Christ, have at the same time to exercise continual care and vigilance to
keep away everything adverse to this Kingdom, and to support whatsoever may
promote it. Therefore, from the beginning of Our Pontificate, we had to examine
most carefully whether it would be lawful, convenient and useful to support with
Our authority the above mentioned petitions. We have not neglected and do not at
present neglect to offer insistent prays to God that He might clearly manifest
the will of His ever-adorable goodness in this instance.
4. In order that We may receive the gift of heavenly light, do you, Venerable
Brethren, in pious competition, unite your entreaties with Ours. But, while
paternally exhorting you to do this, thus following the example of Our
Predecessors, and particularly that of Pius IX when about to define the dogma of
the Mother of God's Immaculate Conception, we earnestly beg you to inform us
about the devotion of your clergy and people (taking into account their faith
and piety) toward the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. More
especially We wish to know if you, Venerable Brethren, with your learning and
prudence consider that the bodily Assumption of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin
can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith, and whether in addition to your
own wishes this is desired by your clergy and people.
5. We shall be most grateful for your prompt response and we entreat an
abundance of divine favors and the favorable assistance of the heavenly Virgin
upon you, venerable brothers, and upon yours, while we most lovingly impart our
apostolic blessing in the Lord as a token of our fatherly affection to you and
to the flocks committed to your care.
Given at Rome at St. Peter's on the first day of May in the year 1946, the
eighth of our pontificate.