Pius X Shows Need for Union With Christ, Says Pope

Recalls Predecessor Who Set Age for 1st Communion

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- An intimate personal union with Christ must be at the heart of apostolic activity, says Benedict XVI, pointing to the teaching of his predecessor St. Pius X.

The Pope reflected today during the general audience on Pius X’s life and example. Pius X was Pontiff from 1903 to 1914.

Benedict XVI said that Pius X, born Giuseppe Sarto, showed already during his various ministries as a priest the «profound love of Christ and of the Church, that humility and simplicity and that great charity toward the neediest, which were characteristics of his whole life.»

When Cardinal Sarto was elected to the See of Peter, «he accepted with hesitation,» Benedict XVI explained, «because he did not think he measured up to the loftiness of such a task.»

But the Italian Pontiff set himself to reforming the Church, taking the motto «To Renew All Things in Christ.»

His pontificate, his successor affirmed, «has left an indelible mark on the history of the Church.»

Leading men to God

Among his projects were a reorganization of the Roman Curia, codification of the Code of Canon Law, revision of seminarians’ curriculum, renewal of the liturgy and particularly sacred music, and supporting the formation of the People of God with a catechism.

One of his best-known decisions was putting the age for First Communion at around 7, when the child reaches the age of reason.

«The last months of his life were embittered by the outbreak of the War,» Benedict XVI noted. «An appeal to the Catholics of the world launched on Aug. 2, 1914, to express ‘the acute grief’ of that hour, was the suffering cry of a father who sees his children confront one another. He died shortly after, on Aug. 20, and his reputation for sanctity soon began to spread among the Christian people.»

The Pope concluded by affirming that St. Pius X «teaches all of us that, at the foundation of our apostolic action, in the various fields in which we work, there must always be an intimate personal union with Christ, which must be cultivated and enhanced day after day.»

«Only if we are enamored of the Lord will we be able to lead men to God,» he said, «and open them to his merciful love, and thus open the world to God’s mercy.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30087?l=english

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