Pope Pius XI on Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Last Sunday I introduced for the Prayers of the Faithful an act of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, composed by Pope Pius XI.

The reason I introduce the prayer was the corruption that has been introduced into the life of the priesthood through clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up. The revelations regarding Archbishop McCarrick show that the problem is on-going, at least on the adult level, extensive, and involves active homosexuality among the clergy, which even were it consensual would be, apart from other matters, in complete violation of the promise of celibacy.

In 1928, Pope Pius XI, faced with a world in which formerly Catholic countries were rejecting the faith and civil authorities were persecuting the Church, as was taking place in Mexico, wrote an encyclical letter, Miserentissimus Redentor, on reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He appended to that letter an Act of Reparation which he ordered recited in all the churches of the world on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since the turmoil and confusion of the 1960s that prayer has fallen into disuse and been forgotten, though I have in fact made use of that prayer on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

The public rebellion against God and his Church that Pope Pius witnessed has continued and advanced through the 20th century and has penetrated into the life of the Church. As I mentioned in some of my recent homilies Blessed Pope Paul VI, during a homily on June 29, 1972, did not hesitate to speak of a crisis of faith that had come about because the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Temple of God as through some crack or fissure. The confusion cause by that “smoke of Satan” has led to corruption both in the teaching of the faith and in the life of the faith. That has led, among other things, to the current horrific corruption that can be found in the life of some among the clergy. Pope Pius XI would never have imagined that priests, bishops, and even cardinals would engage in some of the horrific and perverse sexual crimes that have taken place. For that reason, I took the liberty to make some small additions to his prayer so as to include the current situation. A copy of that prayer, as I have modified it in light of the current situation, is included with this bulletin.

Here let me add some key passages take from the Encyclical of Pope Pius XI:

“We are holden to the duty of reparation and expiation by a certain more valid title of justice and of love, of justice indeed, in order that the offense offered to God by our sins may be expiated and that the violated order may be repaired by penance: and of love too so that we may suffer together with Christ suffering and filled with reproaches (Lam 3:30), and for all our poverty may offer Him some little solace. For since we are all sinners and laden with many faults, our God must be honored by us not only by that worship wherewith we adore His infinite Majesty with due homage, or acknowledge His supreme dominion by praying, or praise His boundless bounty by thanksgiving; but besides this we must need make satisfaction to God the just avenger, for our numberless sins and offenses and negligences.”  (7) … “But no created power was sufficient to expiate the sins of men, if the Son of God had not assumed man’s nature in order to redeem it. This, indeed, the Savior of men Himself declared by the mouth of the sacred Psalmist: Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me: Holocausts for sin did not please thee: then said I: Behold I come (He 10:5-7). … and He His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree (1 Pe 2:24) … Yet, though the copious redemption of Christ has abundantly forgiven us all offenses (Cf. Co 2:13), nevertheless, because of that wondrous divine dispensation whereby those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ are to be filled up in our flesh for His body which is the Church (Cf. Co 1:24), to the praises and satisfactions, which Christ in the name of sinners rendered unto God we can also add our praises and satisfactions, and indeed it behoves us so to do. But we must ever remember that the whole virtue of the expiation depends on the one bloody sacrifice of Christ, which without intermission of time is renewed on our altars in an unbloody manner … Wherefore with this most august Eucharistic Sacrifice there ought to be joined an oblation both of the ministers and of all the faithful, so that they also may present themselves living sacrifices, holy, pleasing unto God (Rm 12:1). … Nor do those only enjoy a participation in this mystic priesthood and in the office of satisfying and sacrificing, whom our Pontiff Christ Jesus uses as His ministers to offer up the clean oblation to God’s Name in every place from the rising of the sun to the going down (Mal 1:11), but the whole Christian people rightly called by the Prince of the Apostles a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood (1 Pe 2:9), ought to offer for sins both for itself and for all mankind (Cf. He 5:3).” (9)


Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Pope Pius XI)

O Sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thine altar eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or renouncing the vows of their baptism, [or even most atrociously violating the promises of their sacred ordination], have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violation of Sundays and holidays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints.

We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy divine love; [for the terrible crimes that some among Thy sacred ministers have dared to commit]; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and the teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would O divine Jesus, we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood! We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou didst once make to Thy eternal Father on the cross and which Thou dost continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past.

Henceforth we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of Charity.

We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where Thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.





Fr. Joseph Levine graduated from Thomas Aquinas College and after a long journey was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He currently serves as pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in The Dalles on the Columbia River.

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