Friday, 3 September 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part VI)

On 11th June, 1905, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Il Fermo Proposito to the Bishops of Italy on Catholic Action in Italy:

25. The priest, raised above all men in order to accomplish the mission he has from God, must also remain above all human interests, all conflicts, all classes of society. His proper field of action is the Church. There, as ambassador of God, he preaches the truth, teaching along with respect for the rights of God respect also for the rights of every creature. In such a work he neither exposes himself to any opposition nor appears as a man of factions, ally to one group and adversary to others. In such a way he will not place himself in the danger of dissimulating the truth, of keeping silence in the conflict of certain tendencies, or of irritating exasperated souls by repeated arguments. In all these cases he would fail in his real duty. It is unnecessary to add that while treating so often of material affairs he may find himself obligated to perform tasks harmful to himself and to the dignity of his office. He may take part in these associations, therefore, only after mature deliberation, with the consent of his Bishop, and then only in those cases when his assistance will be free from every danger and will be obviously useful.

26. This does-not diminish his zeal. The true apostle must make himself "all things to all men"[I Cor. ix:22] in order to save all. Like the Divine Redeemer, he ought to be moved with compassion, "seeing the crowds . . . bewildered and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd."[Matt. ix:36] By means of the printed and spoken word, by direct participation in the above-mentioned cases, he can labor on behalf of the people according to the principles of justice and charity by favoring and promoting those institutions which propose to protect the masses from the invasion of Socialism, saving them at the same time from both economic ruin and moral and religious chaos. In this way the assistance of the clergy in the works of Catholic Action has a truly religious purpose. It will then not be a hindrance, but rather a help, to the spiritual ministry by enlarging its sphere and multiplying its results.