The Holy House of Loreto is Our Lady’s house from Nazareth. Jesus spent His adolescence there when they returned from Egypt. The Angels later transported the House to Loreto, Italy.
The ecclesiastical historian Father Réné François Rohrbacher (1789-1856) narrates this impressive episode about how the Popes protected the House.
“The local authorities sought to renovate the Holy House of Loreto by making some improvements, but the architects that started the work suffered strange setbacks that forced them to abandon the initiative. Finally, Pope Clement VII expressly ordered the priest Fr. Ventura Perini, who was involved in the work, to explain to the Blessed Virgin that the architects would be doing the work by the Pope’s order.
“After three days of fasting and praying, Perini carried out the order. Accompanied by a great multitude, he approached the House, knelt and said: ‘With confidence, I ask you O Holy House of the purest of virgins, to forgive me. It is not on my initiative that I will hammer your sacred walls, but at the behest of Clement, Vicar of Jesus Christ, who ardently desires to renovate you. Allow me, O Mary, to carry out my duty as needed.’ And the works continued normally.”
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This truly magnificent episode indicates that Our Lady wanted the Vicar of her Son to have jurisdiction over all sacred things, and especially the more significant sacred things. This event clearly establishes this jurisdiction of the Vicar of Her Son.
Church authorities were trying to renovate the House of Loreto but had no explicit permission from the Pope. They tried in vain until it came. Once secured, the House “allowed” them to work on it. This episode is a graceful, magnificent, and highly meaningful manifestation of the Power of the Keys. Christ gave the Pope the power to bind and release, command, rule, and govern all things. It affirms the Pope’s royalty over all the Church’s things.
In this episode, even Our Lady appears to conform to this most august and sacred royalty. She took this attitude about her House because it was the same that she manifested when she was still on earth when Saint Peter was the Pope. At that time, she certainly showed all the veneration that every Catholic should have for the Pope. She included herself as subject to his authority even though she is the Mother of God, the Queen of the Universe, Heaven and Earth.
This story manifests quite well the true nature of the Papacy. Indeed, the Papacy is an authority unlike any other. It is not like that of a legitimately established power of the natural order, which can be applied in broader or narrower, greater or lesser, more or less elastic, and closer or more distant to the mass of men.
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This Papal power is so sacred, absolute and monarchic that even Our Lady appears to obey it. This episode shows the monarchical character of the Church. Thus, the Church is not a ‘mitered’ republic but a real monarchy in which the Vicar of Jesus Christ is the real king. The faithful must love this precious truth, which is taught through this miracle and grace of Our Lady of Loreto.
The preceding article is taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on December 10, 1965. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. –Ed.
Photo Credits: Walters Art Museum CC BY-SA 3.0; Didier Descouens CC BY-SA 4.0