|Pope Benedict XV|
A vivid and palpable proof of the part which faith in the Eucharist plays in Catholic life is furnished by the great International Eucharistic Congresses of the past forty years, held in capital cities all over the civilized world. The success of these Congresses surpassed the wildest dreams of those who suggested them. Never in the long history of the Church have there been - at least outside of Rome - such magnificent public demonstration of Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Christ. That same intense belief is also responsible for the extraordinary increase in daily Communion since the great Eucharistic decree of Pope Pius X. made frequent reception easy for all the faithful.
Then, too, the events of the past fifty years, especially the happenings during the Great War and the world wide recognition of the splendid work and influence of Pope Benedict XV., and of our present Holy Father, PiusXI.; furthermore, recent events connected with the restoration of the temporal power and the recognition of the fact that the Pope, as head of a vast spiritual organization, including in its ranks men of every nation under heaven, must himself be quite independent, owing allegiance to no temporal sovereign, in order that he may be an impartial ruler of all - these events emphasize the unique position accorded to the Pope even by non-Catholics the world over. When we add to this the deep and special reverence and submission shown to him by the three hundred millions of his own subjects, one may well ask: On what foundation does this extraordinary dignity of the Pope rest - this majesty authority recognized in one man alone of the whole human race? The answer is: On the Catholic doctrine of the Pope's right to teach and rule as the successor of St. Peter. It is Catholicism that gives him his strength, and the honour paid by the whole world to the Papacy is a tribute to the unshakeable strength of the Catholic system, of which the Pope is the living embodiment.