His Holiness Pope Pius X Passing Through The Vatican
( Originally Published 1907 )
We now see a picturesque procession passing along the loggia; the Pope in his garments of snowy white, his pectoral cross with golden chain, his cincture or sash of white silk embroidered and fringed with gold. At the left is Monsignore Bisleti. Usually the Popes have made such little journeys in a state chair. Pius X prefers to walk, dispensing with the old etiquette in this as in other instances.
It is still required of the Cardinals that they travel about Rome only in carriages of fine shape drawn by good horses. To enjoy the pleasure of a stroll on foot they must drive outside the city walls. So rigidly is this rule carried out that a story is told of the American Cardinal Gibbons being courteously reminded that during his stay in Rome he must make his public appearances only in a carriage. The Cardinal in his home city goes about the streets like any other citizen, in summer arrayed in a very plain black "duster" and a brown straw hat, stops to chat with his old neighbors; pets the children, discusses the weather with the policeman on the beat, and otherwise comports himself like a citizen of the Republic. It is just a difference of method, and perhaps of racial temperament. The American in possession of power cares very little about the formal expression of it. He has it and uses it, that's enough; while the Latin and Oriental races must invent costume, pomp, ritual, to express the sense of power and the dignity of office. Pius X was born a peasant and trained to practical life. Evidently he looks upon his elevation from poor student to Pope, through such dignities as the See of Mantua and the Patriarchate of Venice, as due to no qualities of his own, but rather to the will of Providence. Therefore he is willing to dispense with the signs and symbols of grandeur as far as possible.
We are now to see him seated on his throne of state. Find the figure 26 on the map, which locates us near the throne-room of the Pontiff.