Pius X, the Pope of the Catechism and personal union with Christ
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - "The basis of our apostolic activity in the various fields in which we operate, must always be our intimate personal union with Christ, to be nurtured on a daily basis”.
For Benedict XVI this is the legacy that Pius X gifted to the entire Church. Inspired by the forthcoming feast of the saint "of the catechism”, in his general audience today, the pope briefly outlined some aspects of the life of Giuseppe Sarto, who was born in Riese (Treviso) in 1835 to a peasant family and who became a priest aged 23. At the end of the audience, he made an appeal for the people of Pakistan hit by devastating floods, which we carry in a separate article (Benedict XVI’s appeal for flood victims in Pakistan). The meeting was also attended by some groups from Sri Lanka.
In his pastoral commitment, Giuseppe Sarto "showed a deep love for Christ and the Church, humility and simplicity and a great charity towards the needy, which were characteristic of his entire life”. Elected pope in 1903, he accepted this ministry "with hesitation, because he did not consider himself of such an elevated task."
His pontificate saw profound reforms: the curia, the code of canon law, seminary formation, the formation of God's people
"Since the years when he was pastor - said the pope - he himself had drawn up a catechism and during his Episcopacy in Mantua he had strived for the achievement of a single catechism, if not universal, at least Italian. As an authentic shepherd he understood the situation at the time, including the phenomenon of emigration, which necessitated a catechism to which all faithful could relate irrespective of their location or circumstances of life. As Pope, he prepared a text of Christian doctrine for the diocese of Rome, which spread throughout Italy and then worldwide. This catechism called "Pius X" has been for many a sure guide in learning the truths of faith in a language that is simple, clear and precise and for its useful presentation.
Another area of reform was the liturgy and participation of the faithful in the mysteries. It was he who suggested the practice of daily Communion and to lower to seven the age for First Communion.
He was also the pope who fought Modernism and founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute. "The last months of his life - he added - were marred by the glare of the war. The appeal to the Catholics of the world, launched August 2, 1914 to express "the bitter pain" of the present hour, was the suffering cry of a father who sees his children line up one against the other. "
"St. Pius X - concluded Benedict XVI - teaches us all that the basis of our apostolic activity in the various fields in which we operate, must always be an intimate union with Christ, to nurture... Only if we love the Lord, are we able to bring men to God and open them to His merciful love and so open the world to the mercy of God".