The Long Shadow of Pius XI, One Hundred Years Later, by Michael Pakaluk

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December 23, 2022
Daily Scripture Reading and Meditation: What Then Will This Child Be?
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[Image: Portrait of Pope Pius XI by Philip de Laszlo]

The problems of today trace not back to the 1960’s, as many believe, but back to World War I, and Pope Pius XI saw them before anyone else.

By Michael Pakaluk, Crisis Magazine, Dec. 23, 2022

Michael Pakaluk is a philosopher who lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with his wife and their eight children. His most recent book is Mary’s Voice in the Gospel According to St. John (Regnery Gateway).


Michael PakalukOne of the very best histories of World War I, The Long Shadow, by Cambridge historian David Reynolds (both a book and a BBC documentary series), deals not so much with the causes of that terrible war as with how the conflict would shape the world over the next century. Reynolds, of course, has the historian’s advantage of looking back.

But Catholics, if they wish, can consult a very different guide, a papal encyclical written in the aftermath of the war, which diagnosed how things stood then and presciently warned about even greater calamities which were to come unless a certain definite remedy was adopted.

I mean the first encyclical of then newly-elected Pope Pius XI, called Ubi arcano Dei consilio, published on December 23, 1922, exactly 100 years ago today. …

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