Catholic Action

Beginning over a century ago Pope Saint Pius X urged Catholics to participate in Catholic Action. Catholic Action is a participation of the laity in the work of the hierarchy to go and teach all nations. (Matthew 28:20) Saint John Chrysostom writes: “He who is content with saving himself and neglects the salvation of others cannot secure his own salvation.” From this, although the name may be new, the idea certain is not.

Saint Peter writes (I Peter 3:15): “But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.” And Saint Paul writes the Philippians (4:3): “And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.” From this we can see that the women were also laboring in the Gospel along side Clement in Philippi.

Saint Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto said: “Catholic Action is directed toward the defense of and revindication of the rights of the Roman Pontiff” He was later elected to the Papacy as Pius X.

In 1912 Pope Saint Pius X gave a speech: “How must one love the Pope? Not only with words but with actions, as well, and with sincerity . . . When one loves the Pope, one must not discuss on what He advises or demands, as to find out which are the duties of obedience, and to limit there one’s obligations. When one loves the Pope, one does not object that He has not spoken clearly enough, as if He was to tell each and everyone His will clearly expressed many times, not only in speech, but in His letters and public documents; one may not doubt His orders under the pretext that they do no emanate from Him directly, but from His entourage; one may not limit where He may and must exercise His will; one may not oppose the authority of the Pope against that of others, no matter how well educated, who differ from the Pope’s mind. Besides, whatever their knowledge, sanctity is lacking in them, for there could not be sanctity where there is disagreement with the pope.” He is urging us to obey the Pope and not look for a limit to our obedience.

Cardinal Gasparri writes in his catechism: “The laity of either sex can most effectively help the Church in her ministry as well by their own personal influence which may affect the spiritual goods of their neighbors, as also by what is termed “Catholic action,” so earnestly recommended by the Supreme Pontiff, and so clearly referred to by St. Paul, Phil. iv, 3. The laity should, if they can, join in “Catholic action,” for by such loyal cooperation with their Bishops on the lines laid down by the Apostolic See, they will be materially forwarding the ideal set before us by the Church, in other words the triumph of the Kingdom of Christ and the salvation of the human race.”

In the Summa, Saint Thomas Aquinas writes: “In cases of necessity where faith is in danger, every one is bound to proclaim his faith to others, either to give good example and encouragement to the rest of the faithful, or to check the attacks of unbelievers.” 1

Many others could be cited to remind us of this duty of Catholics. We can not sit idly by, but we must proclaim the Faith to others, when an opportunity arises. And the first way we promote the Faith is by living the Faith. We study the catechism in order to learn our duties as Christians. We pray to Almighty God for the help of His grace so that we can live out these duties.

1 II-II Q3 A2 reply 1