Pope St. Pius X Pope St. Pius X 

Pope Francis: St. Pius X was a Pope near to people who suffer

Pope Francis pens the preface for a new book by Fr. Lucio Bonora on Pope St. Pius X, and praises the early 20th century Pope for the depth of his catechesis and opposition to World War I.

By Devin Watkins

“Pius X was a Pope who made the entire Church understand that without the Eucharist and without the assimilation of revealed truths, personal faith weakens and dies.”

Pope Francis offered that praise of his predecessor, Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914), in a preface he wrote for a new book entitled “Tribute to Pius X. Contemporary Portraits”.

The book was written by Fr. Lucio Bonora, a priest from the Italian city of Treviso—the birthplace of Pius X—and an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Fr Luigi Bonora, author of the book
Fr Luigi Bonora, author of the book

Saintly Pope wept at outbreak of World War I

In his preface released on Wednesday, Pope Francis said he holds the late Pope in high esteem, recalling that he would meet yearly with catechists of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires on his feastday, August 21.

“I enjoyed spending time with those dedicated to instructing children and adults in the truths of the faith,” he said, “and Pius X has always been known as the Pope of catechesis.”

Pope Francis added that Pius X was “a gentle yet strong Pope, a humble and clear Pope.”

St. Pius X approved the creation of the Pontifical Biblical Institute run by the Jesuits in Rome, a decision which endeared him to the Jesuits, said Pope Francis.

The late Pope “wept at the onset of the [First] World War” and pleaded “with the powerful to lay down their arms.”

“How close I feel to him in this tragic moment of the modern world,” said Pope Francis of Pius X.

Close to suffering humanity

He also frequently expressed his closeness to “the little ones, the poor, the needy, earthquake victims, the disadvantaged, and those suffering from natural disasters.”

Piux X was “a Pope who was a monument to pastoral care, as defined by Pope St. John XXIII when he allowed Venice to venerate his mortal remains at St. Mark’s in the spring of 1959.”

Pope Francis thanked Fr. Bonora for his years of research into the life of Pius X, saying his dedication and passion emerge in the text.

The legacy of St. Pius X, added the Pope, belongs to the “Church of today” and to “the baptized of all ages, who seek to be faithful to the Gospel and to their pastors”.

“Long live St. Pius X, and may he live deeply in the heart of today's Church!”

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17 April 2024, 14:00