Saint Pope Pius X is known as the pope who had strong opinions against modernism. Today, those opinions have become prophetic as we see society crumble with all sorts of degradations. Degradations in morals, family life, the body, and the overall well being of the human soul. Ironically, with all the good things that we may attribute to the modernized world, we seem to have failed to bring peace into our personal existence.
Instead of clarity, we are now more divided, more undecided, and more confused in opinion as contemporary philosophies are brought into our attention. The call of the new age is success despite it all, relabeled as the “pursuit of happiness”. To chase what would make you happy, and to fear and hate what would hinder it. There is one group of people who have become the primary target of this new phobia. That is the children of this world.
In the most modern countries, there seems to be a real culture of fear and hatred of having children or just being around them. This phobia is perpetrated in media, movies, literature, and even in commercials. How many times have we seen movies where the main characters find it excessively worrisome to have a baby? We see commercials where parents are having a bad day because of their kids. And there’s plenty of literature that exacerbates children as the drainer of freedom and money. This new world seems to have demonized children and not just alienate them.
Pope Francis has even realized this new culture elaborating that more people today are choosing pets over children. In many households, pets have replaced children with severe consequences to our humanity.
Saint Pope Pius X has warned us before about this kinds of moral lapses. But this good pope has shown us some examples in his actions on how we can win back our humanity through respecting and caring for children.
When he was just a priest, Pope Pius X showed his concern for the rural and urban youth. Often by pushing through difficult situations to bring religious instruction to those children especially to those who did not have the opportunity to attend Catholic schools. This selfless attitude and lively charity towards children was carried over to his papacy. He even at one time personally distributed First Communion to a four-year-old boy after being amazed by the boy’s intelligence and proper understanding of the sacrament. He would echo the Lord’s sentiments “Let the little children come to me” when they were hindered from coming near him. He made sure that children were not left out in society.
But the one instance that really showed his charity and inclusivity for children was with a certain boy that he invited for an audience.
Pope Pius X and the child who wrote to him
A boy who was about ten years old wrote to Pope Pius X. Unbeknownst to his father, he asked the Pope if he can grant him an audience. To the surprise of the boy’s father, Francesco Laviosa who was a technical inspector of navigation in Lago di Garda, received a responding letter from the Pope himself granting the boy and his family the audience he requested for. The letter included the Pope’s gladness about the boy’s enthusiasm of reaching out to him and that he blesses the child together with his whole family. When they’ve finally presented themselves, His Holiness chatted with them for half an hour. He showed interest in the boy’s education, offered him a magnificent medal, and imparted the Apostolic Benediction to him and all his relatives. They were then toured around the Vatican to make their visit a memorable one.
This incident is an inspiring reflection of the Pope’s regard for the young and for people in the humblest ranks of society. May the world regain its care and respect for children. In doing so, it is perhaps the greatest feat of humanity. The one that matters the most more than ever.