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Aug 21: Day by Day with Father Bill

MEMORIAL OF SAINT POPE PIUS X (elected Pope in 1903, died on August 20, 1914)

Pope Pius X’s ministry was filled with struggles. He chose to pit Christ against culture, so was very antagonistic towards what was called Modernism at the time. He closely monitored priests and theologians, especially those teaching in universities and seminaries, requiring them to take an Oath against Modernism. There was a kind of police-state mentality in the Vatican.

Pope Pius revised the Code of Canon Law, introduced Holy Communion to children who had reached the age of reason (age 7 or so), and lived very simply. Before his death, he announced, “I was born poor (second of ten children), I have lived poor, and I will die poor.” He died less than two months after the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, who was in line to succeed to the Austro-Hungarian throne, which was the spark that caused World War I to break out.

Today, some would want to pit Christ against culture. I think this antagonistic approach is counter-productive. I like to think of the Christ of culture or Christ above culture or Christ, the transformer of culture. The notion of a war against culture, which some US Bishops promote, is not going to serve us well if our desire is to convince others of the goodness of the Lord in every culture, despite elements of every culture that must be challenged in light of the Gospel.

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