His Piety
Taken from THE LIFE OF BENEDICT XV by Walter Peters, 1959
With Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, 1959

Sept. 3 (6), 1914 to Jan. 22, 1922

When I was a child I would hear people praise Pope Pius X, and his successors, except for Benedict XV. When his name came up the room would grow quiet. I knew enough not to ask as children were not impertinent in matters of religion in those days. I knew that someday I would test this silence or mild form of disapproval [formed out of ignorance, thanks to the press], to see if history agreed. It was not until my friend Bill, who has given so many books and images to Catholic Tradition, gave me the Peters book was I able to accomplish this. I am ever so grateful to him and to Almighty God for the chance present the authentic Pope Benedict XV.

Giacomo della Chiesa, Benedict XV ascended to the Chair of Peter at a turning point in history: the First World War was raging in Europe and Our Lady of Fatima was soon to make her appearance in Portugal, in 1917. In fact, on May 13 of that year, Pope Benedict was consecrating a young priest as a bishop, the future Pope Pius XII. Pius would one day consecrate the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yet few consider this aspect of Benedict XV. He had a phrase he liked to use, "The inscrutable design of Divine Providence", which fits the case here, for it seems to be the express will of Almighty God that much of this Pontiff's life would remain hidden or unknown, passing from the successor of Peter into obscurity, quite ironically, for Giacomo della Chiesa was the faithful client of Our Lady and at Fatima he was mentioned in this manner:

As it happened, the little seers were talking about the apparitions among themselves. Suddenly Jacinta asked her cousin Lucy, "Have you ever seen the Holy Father?" Before Lucy could reply, Jacinta, with the charming innocence of a pure child, answered her own question:

"I do not know how it happened, but I saw him in a very large house, kneeling before a little table, weeping, with his head between his hands. Outside there was a crowd. ... Poor Holy Father."

Jacinta's statement was undoubtedly true, for she was not capable of a lie. Had she told of Benedict XV being carried through St. Peter's on the sedia gestatoria, it could be possible to consider that newspaper accounts had imbedded themselves in the child's imagination so that any thought of the Pope would have had to clothe itself in some glorious tale. Instead she described a small, grief-stricken priest on his knees at a table. Moreover, Benedict was seldom photographed and when he had been, never been pictured in this pose.

Of special import, is was known that in those days Pope Benedict could often be found on his knees at a table in his room. Friedrich von Lama gives an account of a German priest who in a private audience asked the Pope whether he really hoped for peace through his incessant admonitions. Benedict ushered his visitor to his inner chamber. He went to a table on which was a statue of Our Lady of Protection (Madonna della Guardia). "Slowly he sank to his knees, and, as though entirely alone, remained in this posture for a long time. Then he arose, blessed his visitor, and, with a look of deep introspection, dismissed him. [1] Benedict thus taught his visitor that the supreme Pontiff's chief task was prayer as mediator between God and man.


There is an adage, "Each new pope must in some respect be the opposite of his predecessor," because is is so widely accepted, now as then, had its share in people's assessment of this Pope, which was neither fair nor accurate. Some, such as the Modernists, who had been rebuffed and routed under Saint Pius X, "disparaged his piety and pointed hopefully to the diplomatic skill, the humanistic interests, and the aristocratic origin of the new Pope. Others characterized Benedict as worldly, haughty, and vain, in contrast to the simple, humble Sarto. One Italian priest, Antonio Oldra, a well known admirer of Pius X, burst out in anger when he heard Benedict accused of hauteur and vanity. One day Father Oldra had an audience with him, and after that day he never grew tired of sharing with others his admiration for Benedict's apostolic simplicity: "I can assure you with absolute certainty," he said, "that no Pope has ever been simpler, more unaffected and modest in his demeanor and conversation than Benedict XV." [2] However, the testimony of individuals did little to overcome the harm done to the reputation of Benedict XV by "those who thought that by contrasting Saint Pius X favorably with his successor, they were doing Pius a service."
Walter Peters writes:

"On the occasion of the unveiling of the monument to Benedict XV, Pius XI paid a beautiful tribute to his predecessor's piety. 'In the scale of things that were beautiful, pure, holy, sublime, and edifying in the life of Benedict XV, his piety occupies the highest rung.' [p. 218] Benedict's piety showed itself not only in his private devotions but also in his daily striving for the attainment of Christian perfection, in his external demeanor and internal recollection at liturgical functions, and in the prayerful thoughts manifested in his documents and allocutions." [p. 219]
Yet, this prayerful, humble man was not without faults: Benedict had to fight against his volatile temper throughout his life. Although he attained a high degree of self-mastery, his predilection to anger showed itself. The anguish of the person on whom he vented his temper was very slight compared to Benedict's sorrow when he realized that he had hurt the feelings of someone. "An example of his contrition and act of reparation came to light in an anecdote told by the aged Jacchini who had served five pontiffs in the capacity of coachman. As has been said earlier, Benedict did not derive much joy from recreating in the Vatican gardens. Those who had his welfare at heart pleaded with him so urgently to take some recreation that he would at times give in to them. One summer day when news of the war was especially gloomy, Benedict decided to go for a solitary ride so that he might set his thoughts in order. For a man who had once owned an automobile, primitive though it may have been in 1912, this ride in a historic carriage constituted a retrogression. He who had traversed the Pyrenees on his journeys to Spain, who had been in the Tyrolese mountains on his missions to the Viennese court, who had crossed the Swiss Alps on his pilgrimage to Lourdes, who had been through all the mountain areas of Italy, must have been bored with this 'make-believe' ride in the gardens, which, though beautiful, had been seen by him thousands of times. The ride must have been no less boring to old Jacchini who knew every shrub along the route.
... the carriage rattled over the cobblestone roads with uncomfortable speed. ... on this summer day, the cumulative effect of Benedict's reluctance to go for a ride, of his annoyance at Jacchini's lack of attention to the one task for which he was retained, the thought of the world's lack of co-operation with him in the war, the memory of an accident that might have been fatal ... Like a spring in a clock which breaks suddenly and recoils loudly, Benedict scolded Jacchini with all the sharpness and stridency at the command of the true Italian temperament.

"The poor old man could hardly believe that this was the gentle Della Chiesa whom he had learned to love under Leo XIII and Pius X. Deeply hurt, Jacchini had only one thought when the coach returned to the spot where the guards helped Benedict to alight. He wanted to escape to the privacy of his home to be alone in his grief and humiliation. As Benedict alighted, however, he asked Jacchini to come to his private apartments. Jacchini had terrible fears of a summary dismissal as his bony hand grasped the bannister of the stairs. Benedict meanwhile gave orders to the guards to leave him alone with the coachman. When Jacchini entered the papal apartments, Benedict came from an adjoining room, looking very weary and sad. In his hand he was clutching a bottle of choice wine and two glasses. With an embarrassed smile he asked Jacchini to do him the favor of drinking a glass of wine with him, the only refreshment the Pope was accustomed to take.

"Until his dying day, the simple old coachman was the envy of his colleagues when he told the story of Benedict's having invited him to drink a glass of wine with him. The Holy Father lived literally by the evangelic precept, 'Let not the sun go down upon thy anger.' " [pp. 219-220]

Pope Benedict was an alms-giver of some magnitude, so much so, that he was genuinely sad when he could not give to everyone who asked him. Benedict's example of generosity influenced even the students in the Roman colleges who as a rule were struggling with finances. Yet in that postwar era they shared their superfluous goods and money with everyone in need.

Giacomo Della Chiesa's habit of making a half hour's meditation before Mass in the Church of San Eustachio was only the beginning of the Holy Sacrifice. Priests who had been students in Rome during Benedict's pontificate recounted the quiet piety with which he said Mass. A renowned bishop who did not want his name mentioned "recalls how Benedict gave the absolution over the catafalque on an anniversary of the death of Saint Pius X. The bishop was commenting on the thought that, since the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, then every gesture of the liturgy is a gesture of Christ. He said that whenever he hears or sees this thought expressed, there comes to his mind the picture of Benedict XV, walking slowly around the catafalque with censor in hand, eyes closed, lips moving, as with great deliberation he recited the Pater Noster in silence. He avers that at the time the thought struck him that Christ would have performed this ceremony in precisely that manner. He recalls how awed he was and how happy to be a priest, an instrument of the Mystical Christ. Among all Pius X's writings, Benedict's favorite was the Exhortation to the Catholic Clergy, written to commemorate Pius' golden jubilee as a priest! The whole tenor of that exhortation is that the priest must have a 'sense of Christ.' This Benedict showed forth in his every word and deed." [pp. 220-221]
The Tablet published an article in July 9, 1921, p. 49. It concerned the increase of piety among the Catholic faithful:

   "Unmistakable signs have been furnished lately in many processions with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Rome. ... The celebrations for the beatification of the Trinitarian Tertiary, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, had given opportunity for a display of devotion not the least remarkable feature of which was the exemplary behaviour of the regiment of Bersaglieri as the procession passed their barracks --- and there have been others. To such as remember the Romans' conduct only a few years ago, the people of Rome on their knees in the streets before the Blessed Sacrament is a cheering sight."

Among his many devotions, were his love of the Sacred Heart, his reverence for the Holy Eucharist, his filial devotion to Mary, and his unusual interest in the lives of the Saints.

"In Benedict's first years as archbishop of Bologna, his favorite project was the completion of the splendid Church of the Sacred Heart, the construction of which had been begun by his immediate predecessor, Cardinal Svampa. The magnificent edifice was dedicated on October 15, 1912, and on the following day the remains of Cardinal Svampa were transferred from the local cemetery to the church for burial. Archbishop Della Chiesa on that occasion made the point that Cardinal Svampa had lived and died 'in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.' The new Archbishop now wanted him literally buried in the Sacred Heart! In the electrifying Clama ne cesses [the phrase is from Isaiah, chapter 50] allocution on the first Christmas Eve of Benedict's pontificate, the core of the message was, 'Cry out, and do not stop, and We praise the pastors and single individuals who have determined to promote or multiply public or private prayers to do sweet violence to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to obtain that an end may come to the terrible scourge which now grips and throttles such a great part of the world.' The beautiful prayer which Benedict composed and published on January 10, 1915, began with the words, "Dismayed by the horrors of a war which is bringing ruin to peoples and nations, we turn, O Jesus, to Thy most loving Heart as to our last hope. ... From Thy sacred Heart Thou didst shed forth over the world Divine Charity, so that discord might end and love alone might reign among men.'
"It was Benedict XV who canonized Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Visitation nun to whom our Lord appeared and asked that she be the missionary of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Her cause had been introduced not long after her death in 1690. Pius IX had beatified her in 1864. Benedict XV was pleased to put the final seal of approval on this disciple of the Sacred Heart by canonizing her on the feast of the Ascension, May 13, 1920. Pope Benedict's homily in Saint Peter's on that occasion was especially impressive. He pointed out how applicable were the complaints of ingratitude and irreverence voiced by the Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. He called attention to the fact that Jesus showed Margaret Mary His heart which had as its decoration a cross, a crown of thorns, and a lance, all reminders of His Passion. It was not accidental, the Pope said, that he was canonizing Saint Margaret Mary and Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows on the same day. Both Saints were again calling men to a contemplation of the Passion of Christ. In His Passion Christ had showed His greatest love for us. The world is ailing because of wounds, and these wounds need the motherly hand of Mary and the medicine of Jesus' loving Heart!'

"Benedict XV did not only allude to the Sacred Heart in his public pronouncements. In his private thinking he was much preoccupied with devotion to the Sacred Heart. One day a pontifical institution requested his approval on a diploma embellished with various symbols and devices. It had pictures of the Immaculate Conception and of Saints Agnes, Rose, and Joan of Arc. Because of his shortsightedness, the Pope held the document very close to his eyes, peered intently, and seemed to search for something. Finally he returned the page with anything but enthusiasm. "We find one thing lacking," he said with disappointment, "and that is the emblem of the Sacred Heart." A few days later, when the diploma was returned with signs of having undergone a rigorous revision, the Sacred Heart had a place of honor. Benedict handed back the certificate with a gracious compliment!
"Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey became the apostle of 'The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart' because of a miraculous cure when he first crossed the threshold of Paray-le-Monial in 1907. In 1915, Father Mateo was granted an audience with Benedict XV, who humbly requested the privilege of assisting at Father Mateo's Mass. The scene must have been reminiscent of Raffaello's mural, "The Miracle of Bolsena" in the Vatican Museum, which depicts the Supreme Pontiff kneeling at a faldstool while the Bohemian priest, in whose favor a Eucharistic miracle had been wrought in 1563, offers Mass at the Pope's altar.
"Benedict handed Father Mateo a lengthy autographed letter in which he stated that he looked forward to a great increase of true Christian spirit in family life as a consequence of the devotion of the Enthronemen. When Father Mateo began to thank His Holiness for this unexpected sign of favor, Benedict said, 'Do not thank me, my son. Do you not say that you are the apostle of the great King Jesus?'
'Oh yes, indeed, Your Holiness,' interjected Father Mateo, 'that I wish to be with my whole soul!'
'Well then,' replied Benedict with a smile, 'you preach the King. I am His prime minister, and must look to His interests. Is it not I then who am to thank you for what you are doing for the King of Love?'" [pp. 223-224]

Maria di Pietro, a noblewoman and personal friend of Benedict XV, described the influence which Benedict's personal devotion to the Sacred Heart had on him:
He is a sovereign who prepares the way, "ordering all things mightily and sweetly." The Sacred Heart finds Its way into families, institutions, schools, and armies. The image of the Sacred Heart is worn over the hearts of young people, over the beds of the dying, over cradles and beside coffins, is enthroned in the golden cornices and is inlayed amidst the rosettes in the salons of patricians, watches with anxious tenderness from the grimy, smoky walls of a farmer's kitchens. [3]

Like st. John Vianney, Pope Benedict had been closely and perpetually linked with the Blessed Virgin Mary: "SEPIA PRINT OF MARYHe was born about two weeks before Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception. When little Giacomo was brought home, his mother paused for an instant before the ancient statue of Mary above the portal of their home. His parish church was Saint Mary of the Vineyards. The place of pilgrimage which literally watches over Genoa was the shrine of Our Lady of Protection.

"A devotion in which Benedict XV was especially interested was the Rosary. On December 21, 1914, he granted an audience to a representation from the 'Pious Union of the Family Rosary.' Benedict was asked for a renewal of endorsement of this religious society which Saint Pius X had approved during his pontificate. Benedict replied, 'Of course, of course, gladly do I give my name to this pious sodality. I have always recited the rosary in common with the people with whom I lived. Even now, in the evening when the day's work is done, we assemble in my private chapel, and in unison we recite the blessed beads of Our Lady.'
"Benedict was always eager to recommend the Rosary. On January 10, 1915, when he decreed the day of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament to implore God for peace, the public recitation of the rosary and the prayer of his own composition formed the core of the day's exercises.

"In that prayer he had written: 'And do thou, O most holy Virgin, as in other times of sore distress, be now our help, our protection, and our safeguard.' Most of his letters and addresses closed with some exhortation that Mary be made the refuge of those in need. On May 5,1917, he decreed that the invocation, 'Queen of peace,' be added to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary."  [pp. 224-225]
Peters adds:

"Shortly after Benedict's elevation to the papacy, the people of Genoa began to make plans to honor this most illustrious son of their city. After some deliberation they concluded that they would make Benedict happiest by gathering money for a shrine in honor of Our Lady of Protection. The sculptor, Antonio Canepa, was engaged to make a statue of the Madonna della Guardia. The shrine was erected in the gardens of the Vatican not far from the Grotto of Lourdes so dear to Leo XIII. On May 2, 1917, Benedict XV was carried to his coach on the sedia gestatoria amid happy cheers of the populace. A procession preceded by the famous silver trumpets marched to the new shrine, and there Benedict was to bless the statue. Before the solemn blessing took place, Benedict sat on a throne facing the statue and delivered an address. The gift, the presence of so many Genoese, the spontaneous joy of the people at a time when the press tried to make him unpopular touched the Pope's heart, and he was visibly moved." [p. 225]

  In moving words he expressed his gratitude to the Genoese stressing that he was most blessed to have been born under the mantle of the Madonna della Guardia in Genoa. Providence had not left him bereft of Our Lady's special protection. He said,

"When out of the kindness of the heart of that holy and unforgettable Pius X, We were assigned to the see of Saint Petronius at Bologna, in Our first pastoral letter We expressed Our pleasure and hope that just as from a mountain, the ornament and crown of Our fatherland, the Mother of Protection had smiled on Our cradle, so from another mountain, from the Hill of Protection, which dominates the city of Bologna, and over which stands the majestic temple of Our Lady of Saint Luke, the Celestial Guardian would bless Our new mission."
As a member of the Della Chiesa family, he was naturally drawn to Our Lady of Protection. If people, especially sailors, had been away on a voyage and all went well, they made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Madonna della Guardia. Pietro Antonio Della Chiesa, who in 1590 was named General of the Galleys of the Republic of Genoa, was famous for his pilgrimages of thanksgiving to the lofty chapel in Genoa. Alluding to the fact that he, Giacomo Della Chiesa, had ascended the chair of Peter, he continued:

"But then when Our Lord wanted to raise the least of His bishops to the first of His sees, We were sad to leave Our flock in whose midst: We were firmly convinced that We would die. We ought to be able to draw joyous auspices for Our pontificate from the solicitude which the Virgin has shown in wanting Us under her protection even when We thought We would have to stand far away from her shrine. And now, at last, We can glory in the holy thought that We have in common with the Evangelist Saint John the privilege of taking into Our own home the Mother of Jesus. Of Saint John alone was it said, 'and from that hour the disciple took her into his home.' That prerogative confirmed his title of 'beloved disciple.' And, O what an intimacy of devotion must have drawn the virgin disciple to the Virgin Mother, what riches of comforts the Apostle of love must have drawn from the heart of Mary! Surely, We shall not be wrong if We say that the parallel in the privilege of taking the Mother of Jesus into Our home here at the Vatican, places in Our heart the hope that We also can have a more intimate communication of love with Holy Mary, that We can recognize her counsels better, that We shall have a more ready aid and a more efficacious comfort." [4]

"As early as August 29, 1900, when the Sacred Congregation of Rites granted the feast of Our Lady of Protection a proper office in the breviary, Monsignor Della Chiesa, Undersecretary of State, was selected to be the preacher and to do the honors at the shrine in Genoa. This sermon was printed at the time and was quoted in print whenever there was further discussion of the glories of Our Lady of Protection. In 1917, Civilità Cattolica printed an impressive list of books and periodicals where the address of 1910 could be found and also reprinted part of the sermon. In seventeen years, Giacomo Della Chiesa's mingling with people and their problems, the anguish imposed by the war, greater spiritual maturity which only years of meditation can give, conspired to lend warmth and pathos to the papal allocution.

"In the pontifical letter, Inter sodalicia, addressed to the Sodality of Our Lady of a Happy Death, Pope Benedict gave a clear and succinct exposition of Mary's office as coredemptrix. In the past, supreme pontiffs had alluded to that office of the Blessed Virgin, but surely never so poetically.
"In 1921, on the political front there was a struggle for power in Italy. Communists and other minor liberal forces were opposing Fascists, Socialists, and, of course, the People's Party. Hardly a day passed without riots and loss of civilian life in the streets throughout the cities of Italy. On July 25, 1921, the feast of Saint James, the Pope's patron Saint, Benedict published a prayer which he himself had composed and indulgenced richly. [See next page.]
"Mention has already been made of the Saints whom Benedict canonized and of the blessed whom he beatified. His allocutions on those occasions were always gems of information and seeds of contemplation. Five of his encyclicals were written on saints: St. Jerome, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Boniface, and St. Ephrem. In each case Benedict first recounted the main points in the Saint's life and then selected some special incident which served as an occasion for developing a particular point of theology applicable as an antidote against some current error or abuse.

"To this list should be added the motu proprio on St. Joseph entitled Bonum sane [we were unable to locate a copy], in which Benedict designated naturalism as the greatest plague in man's thinking. 'The effect of naturalism, wherever it takes root," he wrote, "is to lessen the desire for celestial blessings, quench the flame of Divine charity, and withdraw man from the healing and sanctifying grace of Christ. In the end the light of Faith is taken from him, only the corrupt forces of nature are left, and he is delivered to be the prey of the very worst passions.'

"Benedict showed how this has crept into family life and into social life in general. As a remedy he suggested a contemplation of Saint Joseph who had led a life like ours. 'Let us learn from Saint Joseph how to look on passing events in the light of eternal things to come, and seeking the consolation for the inevitable troubles of human life in the hope of celestial blessings, aspire to those with all their strength, resigned to the will of God, living soberly according to the rules of piety and justice.'
One more example of Benedict's study of the lives of Saints should be cited. He was personally very interested in the cause of Thérèse of Lisieux, "The Little Flower." It was he who exempted her cause from the fifty years' delay imposed by canon law between the death of the person and the examination of the process. On August 14, 1921, he promulgated the decree concerning Thérèse's heroic virtues and delivered an allocution on "Spiritual Childhood."
"Bishop Stefano Ferrando of Shillong, India, a native of Genoa, in commenting on his illustrious fellow citizen, mentioned the allocution on "Spiritual Childhood" first. In his estimation the Pope's theological development of this point, so seldom touched upon, yet so vital a part of the Gospels, gave Benedict XV a true claim to fame.

"In the allocution, Benedict pointed out that spiritual childhood was "the result of trust in God and complete abandonment to Him." In Thérèse Martin, Benedict XV saw spiritual childhood in an extraordinary degree. Of spiritual childhood he said,
It knows nothing of self-pride, or the thought of being able to attain by purely natural means a supernatural end, or those spurious notions of self-reliance in the hour of danger and temptation. On the other hand, it presupposes a lively faith in the existence of God, a practical homage to His power and mercy, a confident recourse to the providence of Him who alone can give us grace to avoid evil and seek good.

"The Pope quoted in full all the texts from the Gospel in which Christ enjoined spiritual childhood. Of Christ and His insistence on spiritual childhood, Benedict said, 'He went so far as to exclude from His kingdom those who did not become as little children.' The Pontiff reviewed the life of Thérèse Martin and verified the points necessary for the concept of spiritual childhood.

"Happily he dwelt on the famous pilgrimage which Thérèse and her saintly father made to Rome on the occasion of Leo XIII's jubilee in November, 1887. The incident has been celebrated in painting and in literature. Incidentally, at the time of Thérèse's visit to Leo XIII, Giacomo Della Chiesa had just returned from Spain to begin work in the secretariat of state as an apprentice.
The audience of Thérèse Martin was memorable because of the fact that she broke the strict rule enjoined on pilgrims which forbade speaking to Leo XIII during an audience. Instead, young Thérèse blurted out her request that the Pope give her a dispensation to enter Carmel. Luckily, Leo, who usually took a grim view of infringements of protocol, did not become angry but merely placed his thin finger over his lips to indicate silence, and said in French, 'Allons ... allons ... vous entrerez si le bon Dieu le veut' ('Well, well, you will enter if it be God's will').

"Benedict said of the incident,

'What a useless journey it seemed! ... Thérèse could have acted upon the advice given her by Pope Leo XIII, who told her to "do whatever her superior should enjoin in the matter," for among her superiors she placed foremost her bishop. However, this assiduity in seeking to gain her object, though quite lawful in itself, might nevertheless have given rise to the belief that Therese relied upon human means; her confidence in God might have seemed diminished, her abandonment less complete. She preferred to remain silent under this new disappointment, and continued to maintain her peace of mind in the firm belief that God rewards in His own time those who trust in Him.'

"His wish was that the world imitate her abandonment and trust in God. 'Duplicity and crafty stratagem are only too characteristic of the day. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that piety toward; God and charity toward one's neighbor, should be so wanting. May all this soon be changed! To the deceits, the fraud, the hypocrisy of the world, may there be opposed the sincerity of a child.'

"There was indeed a Benedict whom the world did not know --- a man of deep personal piety --- a true man of God. Since, thanks to the troubled era in which he reigned, relatively few people were able to be received by him in audience, the world learned but little of his piety. Hilaire Belloc who was granted an audience with the Pope on June 5, 1916, has left us a frank and interesting confession of surprise that Benedict was 'a thoroughly good man" and that there was "holiness in his expression.' [ Peters, pp. 227-230]

Belloc wrote:

"I had a long, long talk with him. He is a thoroughly good man, which is not what I had been led to expect! I had thought to see one of those rather subtle and very borne's Italian officials --- bureaucrates. Instead of that he has something like Holiness in his expression and an intense anxious sincerity. He spoke of individual conversion as opposed to political Catholicism in a way which --- with my temperament all for the Collective Church --- profoundly impressed me. I was exceedingly glad to have seen him and to have gotten his blessing." [From The Life of Hilaire Belloc by Robert Speaight, copyright 1957 by J. B. Morton. Used by permission of the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, Inc.]

1. Peace Action, Friedrich von Lama pamphlet, p. 22.
2. Constructive Quarterly, VI, 1918, p. 211.
3. Bendedetto XV, Maria d
i Pietro, p. 64.
4. Civilità
Cattolica, LXVIII (1917), III, 420 F.