Pope St. Pius X on Humanitarianism

St. Pius X

While Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their erroneous convictions, however sincere they appeared. For Jesus loved them all in order to instruct them, convert them and save them.

While He called to himself those who toiled and suffered in order to comfort them, it was not to preach to them the zeal of a chimerical equality. While He lifted up the lowly, it was not to inspire them with a sentiment of a dignity independent from, and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. While His heart overflowed with gentleness for the souls of good will, He could equally arm himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without lifting a finger to alleviate them.

He was as strong as He was gentle. He reproved, threatened and chastised, knowing – and teaching us – that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes expedient to cut off an offending limb to save the body.

Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness possible on earth and of the perfect happiness in Heaven: the royal way of the Cross. These are teachings that it would be wrong to apply only to one’s individual life in order to win eternal salvation; these are eminently social teachings, and they show in Our Lord Jesus Christ something quite different from an inconsistent and ineffective humanitarianism.

(St. Pius X, Encyclical Notre Charge Apostolique , August 15, 1910 )

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