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Clark C.

Abalos
III- St. Bernadette

Pope St. Pius I


Date of birth unknown; pope from about 140 to about 154.
According to the earliest list of the popes, given
by Irenaeus (Against Heresies II.31; cf. Eusebius,Church
History V.6), Pius was the ninth successor of St. Peter.
The dates given in the Liberian Catalogue for his pontificate
(146-61) rest on a false calculation of earlier chroniclers, and
cannot be accepted. The only chronological datum we possess
is supplied by the year of St. Polycarp of Smyrna's death, which
may be referred with great certainty to 155-6. On his visit
to Rome in the year before his death Polycarp found Anicetus,
the successor of Pius, bishop there; consequently, the death of Pius must have occurred about
154. The "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 132) says the father of Pius was Rufinus, and makes
him a native ofAquileia; this is, however, probably a conjecture of the author, who had heard
ofRufinus of Aquileia (end of fourth century). From a notice in the "Liberian Catalogue" (in
Duchesne, "Liber Pontificalis", I, 5), which is confirmed by the Muratorian Fragment (ed.
Preuschen, "Analecta", I, Tübingen, 1910), we learn that a brother of this pope, Hermas by name,
published "The Shepherd" (see HERMAS). If the information which the author gives concerning his
personal conditions and station (first a slave, then a freedman) were historical, we
should know more about the origin of the pope, his brother. It is very possible that the story
which Hermasrelates of himself is a fiction.

Pope Cornelius
Martyr (251 to 253).

We may accept the statement of the Liberian catalogue that


he reigned two years, three months, and ten days, for Lipsius,
Lightfoot, and Harnack have shown that this list is a first-rate
authority for this date. His predecessor, Fabian, was put to
death by Decius, 20 January, 250. About the beginning of
March, 251 thepersecution slackened, owing to the absence
of the emperor, against whom two rivals had arisen. It was
possible to assemble sixteen bishops at Rome, and Cornelius
was elected though against his will (Cyprian, Ep. lv, 24), "by
the judgmentof God and of Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the vote of the
people then present, by the consent of aged priests and of good men, at a time when no one had
been made before him, when the place of Fabian, that is the place of Peter, and the step of
the sacerdotal chair were vacant". "What fortitudein his acceptance of the episcopate, what
strength of mind, what firmness of faith, that he took his seat intrepid in the sacerdotal chair, at a
time when the tyrant in his hatred of bishops was making unspeakable threats, when he heard with
far more patience that a rival prince was arising against him, than that a bishop of God was
appointed at Rome" (ibid., 9). Is he not, asks St. Cyprian, to be numbered among
the glorious confessors and martyrs who sat so long awaiting the sword or thecross or the stake
and every other torture?
Clark C. Abalos
III- St. Bernadette

Pope St. Simplicius


Reigned 468-483; date of birth unknown; died 10 March, 483.
According to the"Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I,
249) Simplicius was the son of a citizen ofTivoli named
Castinus; and after the death of Pope Hilarius in 468
was elected to succeed the latter. The elevation of the
new pope was not attended with any difficulties. During his
pontificate the Western Empire came to an end. Since
themurder of Valentinian III (455) there had been a
rapid succession of insignificant emperors in the Western
Roman Empire, who were constantly threatened by warand revolution. Following
other German tribes the Heruli entered Italy, and their ruler Odoacer put an end to
the Western Empire by deposing the last emperor,Romulus Augustulus, and assuming himself the
title of King of Italy. Although anArian, Odoacer treated the Catholic Church with much respect; he
also retained the greater part of the former administrative organization, so that the change
produced no great differences at Rome. During the Monophysite controversy, that was still carried
on in the Eastern Empire, Simplicius vigorously defended the independence of the Church against
the Cæsaropapism of the Byzantine rulers and the authority of the Apostolic See in questions
of faith. The twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon (451) granted the See
of Constantinople the same privileges ofhonour that were enjoyed by the Bishop of Old Rome,
although the primacy and the highest rank of honour were due to the latter. The papal
legates protested against this elevation of the Byzantine Patriarch, and Pope Leo confirmed only
the dogmaticdecrees of the council. However, the Patriarch of Constantinople sought to bring
the canon into force, and the Emperor Leo II desired to obtain its confirmation bySimplicius. The
latter, however, rejected the request of the emperor and opposed the carrying out of the canon, that
moreover limited the rights of the old Oriental patriarchates.

Pope Sergius IV
Date of birth unknown; consecrated about 31 July, 1009; d. 12 May,
1012. Peter Pig's Snout (Bucca Porci) was the son of Peter the
Shoemaker, of the ninth region of Rome (Pina), and before he
became Sergius IV had been bishop of Albano (1004-9). He
checked the power of the Patricius, John Crescentius, who
dominated Romeby strengthening the party in favour of
the Germans. Little is known of the doings of Sergius except that by
grants of privilege, the papyrus originals of some of which still exist,
he exempted several monasteries from episcopal jurisdiction. Though his own temporal power was
small, various nobles placed their lands under his protection. He showed himself a great friend of
the poor in a time of famine, and was buried in the Lateran Basilica.