Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pope Pius X

Pope Pius X




Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born on June 2, 1835 and in 1903 became the 257th Roman Catholic Pope serving as Pius X until his death on August 20th, 1914. He rejected modernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, was devoted to Mary, and adopted the first Code of Canon Law, which collected and published, for the first time, all the laws of the Church. 

He was born at Riese, near Venice, the son of a postman and studied at Treviso, Padua, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1858. His first assignment was chaplain at Tombolo for nine years and then arch-priest of Salzano from 1867 to 1875, a large borough of the Diocese of Treviso. Here he restored the church, and provided for the enlargement and maintenance of the hospital on his own development and distinguished himself by his abnegation during the cholera outbreak.


In 1867 he was made canon of the Cathedral of Treviso and in 1878 was elected Vicar Capitular. As vicar he filled several offices, among them those of spiritual director and rector of the seminary, examiner of the clergy, and vicar-general.  He also made it possible for the students of the public schools to receive religious instruction.

Sarto was next named Bishop of Mantua in 1884, then a hotbed of socialism and agnosticism.  Here he established a reputation for able administration and uncompromising loyalty to the principles of the Church. His chief task in this new position was for the formation of the clergy at the seminary, where he taught dogmatic and moral theology.  He required that the doctrine and method of St. Thomas to be followed, and to many of the poorer students he gave copies of the "Summa Theologica."  He also cultivated the Gregorian Chant in company with the seminarians. 

At the Secret Consistory in 1893, he was ordained Cardinal under the title of San Bernardo alle Terme by Pope Leo XIII, and three days later was preconized Patriarch of Venice.  He retained the title of Apostolic Administrator of Mantua because is was forced to wait eighteen months before he was able to take possession of his new diocese. The Italian government refused for a year to grant Sarto his exequatur because it claimed the right to nominate the Venice Patriarch as it had been historically exercised by the Emperor of Austria. This matter was hotly debated in the newspapers and in pamphlets and the Government, by way of reprisal, also refused its exequatur to the other bishops who were appointed increasing the number of vacancies to thirty. 

Italian Minister Crispi returned to power and he worked with the Holy See which raised the mission of Eritrea to the rank of an Apostolic Prefecture in favour of the Italian Capuchins. The Government, who held no opposition to Sarto personally, withdrew from its position.  

Cardinal Sarto, Patriarch of Venice

At Venice, Cardinal Sarto paid great attention to the seminary, where he obtained the establishment of the faculty of canon law. In 1898 he held the diocesan synod and again  promoted the use of the Gregorian Chant.  He was a great patron of Lorenzo Perosi and he favored social works, especially the rural parochial banks.   He opposed the dangers of certain doctrines and the conduct of certain Christian-Democrats.  

On July 20th, 1903, Pope Leo XIII, died. The Cardinals met in conclave on Friday, July 31st, and remained in session four days balloting seven times. The final count showed that Sarto was elected by a vote of 55 out of a possible 60 votes.  Cardinal Sarto was asked: "Do you accept the election?" He gave a reply in the affirmative. When asked what name he chose he replied: "Pius."  All the throne canopies were then lowered, with the exception of that of the successful candidate. Then Prince Chigi, the master of the conclave, drew up the official act of the election and acceptance of the newly elected Pope. Pius then retired into a small room near the altar, where he dressed into the white robes of his office. 

The new Pope emerged attired in white with the exception of red shoes. This was quite regular, but he also failed to remove the red Cardinal's socks which were supposed to be replaced with the traditional white Papal stockings. The secretary of the conclave, Monsignor Merry del Val, kneeling, then offered him the Papal white cap admisth breathless silence. He did not follow the precedent created by Pope Leo, who declined to give his red cap to the master of ceremonies as a sign that he would soon be created a Cardinal, but with a slight smile, Pius X took the white cap and placed it calmly on his own head.  He then dropped the red one lightly on the head of Monsignor Merry del Val, amidst a murmur of approval. This was taken as a certain indication that the happy recipient was soon to be raised to the Cardinalate.



As the new Pontiff stepped from behind the altar, he seemed to be the embodiment of his holy office. His face was pale and clearly softened by emotion. He paused a moment, as he came before the expectant Cardinals, then seated himself on the throne, to receive the "first obedience." Then the Te Deum was intoned.  At the close of this hymn of praise Pius X  rose, and in a voice at first tremulous but gradually becoming full and firm, administered the Papal blessing to all of the members of the Sacred College.

At noon Cardinal Macehi, secretary of apostolic briefs,  announced to the crowd assembled before St. Peter's that Cardinal Sarto, Patriarch of Venice, had been elected Pope, and that he had taken the name Pius X.  At 12:10 pm, Pope Pius X  appeared inside the balcony of the basilica and blessed the people, amid the acclamation of the enormous crowd assembled.  His coronation took place on the following Sunday, August 9th, 1903.

Pius X's first official act as Pope occurred when he addressed his first Encyclical to the Church Universal. He declared that in filling the duties of his exalted office, he would be nothing but the Minister of God , with the motto "instaurare omnia in Christo."  He proclaimed that the safety of society depends upon the Church and that all must have recourse to prayer.  

By the end of the year, Pope Pius X had abolished the traditional right of veto at the papal election, claimed by several European governments and exercised for the last time (by Austria) against Cardinal Rampolla, who otherwise might have been Pope instead of Sarto.

Page one (bottom insert) on Page two (22 pages in total) of an unpublished Cardinal Sarto  Immaculate Conception Homily from the Dr. Richard Pomazal Collection

On February 2, 1904 Pius X issued his Ad diem Illum Laetissimum encyclical in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Immaculate conception dogma.  The encyclical maintained, that Christ was the Word made Flesh and the Savior of all mankind. Jesus had a physical body like any other man: but, as the Savior of the human family, Christ also had a spiritual and mystical body, which Pius X decreed as the Church. The Blessed Virgin did not conceive the eternal son of God merely in order that Christ might be made man, although Pius wrote that God did obtain his human nature from Mary. 
"By means of the human nature Christ assumed from Mary, he became the Redeemer of men. Mary, carrying the Savior within her, also carried all those whose life was contained in the life of the Savior. Therefore all the faithful united to Christ, are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones from the womb of Mary like a body united to its head." 



Though a spiritual and mystical fashion, they are all children of Mary, and she is their Mother. Mother, spiritually indeed, but truly Mother of the members of Christ. The Marian encyclical  pontifical motto, “Omnia restaurare in Christo” to restore everything in Christ, promoted the Ad diem illum devotions, stating, that 
“no honouring is more pleasing to Mary, none She likes better, than the one in which we truly recognize and love Jesus.”  
This, according to Pius X, is the aim of Marian encyclical.  The pronouncement of the Immaculate Conception was also a part of the Marian encyclical "But let people believe and confess that the Virgin Mary has been from the first moment of her conception preserved from all stain; and it is straightway necessary that they should admit both original sin and the rehabilitation of the human race by Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the Church and the law of suffering” This Immaculate Conception dogma, Pius X decreed  is the answer, by its obligation 


“of recognizing in the Church a power before which (mankind ) not only has the will to bow, but the intelligence to subject itself.”  Mary, “a virgin, was kept free from all stain of original sin because she was to be the Mother of Christ; and She was the Mother of Christ, so that the hope of everlasting happiness might be born again in our souls.”

Pius X also issued the “Motu Proprio,” providing for the reformation of the music used in the rituals of the Catholic church.   Specifically, Pope Pius X, from his experience as a Churchman, had found that the ecclesiastical music in the Church had deteriorated and it was not used universally in the Church ceremonials. The “Motu Proprio,” issued November 22nd, 1903, was to have a binding force throughout the Church and in it Pius declared that the pure Gregorian Chant should be used universally and absolutely and no other. "We will," said Pius X, 
"with the fulness of our Apostolic authority that the force of law be given to said Motu proprio and we do by our present handwriting impose its scrupulous observance upon all."  



His Excellency, Monsignore Falconio, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States noted that:
"The instruction of our Holy Father, Pius X., is clear and evident. It is directed to the whole Catholic world. No nation was exempted; and it has a juridical and authoritative binding character everywhere upon all Catholics. Unfortunately the edict of our Sovereign Pontiff has been received by many in this country with misgivings as to the probability of putting it into practice. I trust that this timidity will be overcome by the help and encouragement given by the happy results already in those churches where the Reverend Pastors, in obedience to the Pope's orders, have courageously undertaken the desired reform. What has already been accomplished since the publication of the Motu proprio, in some of our American cathedrals and churches, can be accomplished in others, if the pastors will only manifest sufficient zeal and set themselves to work with earnestness and perseverance for this much-needed reform."
In 1904 Pius X established commissions to codify the canon law and to reform the Breviary, which was the liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use.   This special congregation of cardinals, of which Mgr Gasparri, later a cardinal, became the secretary was composed of the most eminent authorities on canon law, throughout the world. They were charged to collaboratie in the formation of the new code calling for nothing less than the reduction of “all of canon law” into canons along the models of recent civil Codes. Gasparri wrote: 
“The order to be observed [in the new code] will more or less be as follows: being preceded by a general part consisting of the titles De Summa Trinitiate et fide catholica, De Constitutionibus, De Consuetudine, [and] De Rescriptis, there will be five books: De Personis, De Sacramentis; De Rebus et Locis sacris, De Delictis et Poenis, [and] De Iudiciis.”  

The 1917 Code are immediately recognizable in this very early outline: 

  • Persons
  • Things (into which Gasparri had put Sacraments and Things and Sacred Places), 
  • Crimes and Penalties
  • Trials (albeit reversing the order of the last two books during the codification process). 

That left only Book I of the Pio-Benedictine Code, General Norms, unaccounted for, but recognizing such topics as Custom and Rescripts among his proposed preliminary “titles,”, it is easily surmised that these matters were grouped with others then unnamed in what finally emerged as Book I of the 1917 Code. 


Pietro Gasparri (May 5, 1852 – November 18, 1934) was a Roman Catholic cardinal, diplomat and politician in the Roman Curia and signatory of the Lateran Pacts


Pope Pius X chose wisely as Perlegisti reads consistently with the idea that Gasparri had long wanted to work on a canonical codification project and had obviously given it much preliminary thought.  The result was the collection, organization, and publication, for the first time, of all the laws of the Church as the Code of Canon Law


In 1906 Pius X had resolutely opposed the French law designed to effect a separation of church and state, and, unwilling to compromise, he allowed valuable property to be taken by the secular government rather than sacrifice complete ecclesiastical independence.

 The decree on all the faithful approaching daily Communion was issued the 14th of February, 1906. It urged simply that the legislation of the Council of Trent on this subject be carried out more effectually than has hitherto been done. According to this legislation, the faithful are to receive daily Communion, not merely spiritually but actually, whenever they assist at daily Mass.

His decree Lamentabilc  or the  "Syllabus of Pius X”  was published in 1907, and condemned errors in the exegesis of Holy Scripture and in the history and interpretation of dogma. The syllabus was a campaign against modernism in general and philosophical evolutionism in particular. The greater number of his propositions concerned the Holy Scripture, their inspiration, and the doctrine of Jesus and of the Apostles, while others relate to dogma, the sacraments, and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. The document also affirmed that the Sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted by Jesus himself, as in the Gospel of John 20:22-23.  

Decree Lamentabili condemning 65 propositions Modernist Decree Quam singulari  


In the same year was issued his famous encyclical Pascendi, in which modernism was condemned. His encyclical pointed out the danger of Modernism in relation to philosophy, apologetics, exegesis, history, liturgy, and discipline, and demonstrated the contradiction between that innovation and the ancient faith.  The  encyclical also established rules by which to combat efficiently the pernicious doctrines in question. Among the means suggested was the establishment of an official body of "censors" of books and the creation of a "Committee of Vigilance".


On May 7, 1909 in an Apostolic Letter, Vinea Electa,  Pius X established  a center of advanced studies in Holy Scripture in order to promote in the most effective manner possible the doctrine and all the connected studies, according to the spirit of the Catholic Church.  


The Pontifical Biblical Institute  is situated in Rome as an institution of the Holy See and administered by the Jesuits located at Via della Pilotta 25 - 00187 Roma, Telephe: + 39 06 6953611  

The Pontifical Biblical Institute  (P.B.I.) was situated in Rome as an institution of the Holy See and administered by the Jesuits offering theological instruction at the university level.  Its first Rector was the Rev. Leopold Fonck, S.J.   who had the initial mission of preparing students to take the exams at the Pontifical Biblical Commission. With the Apostolic Letter Cum Biblia sacred (15/08/1916) Benedict XV authorized to confer the academic degree of the License on behalf of the Biblical Commission. The Motu Proprio Quod maxime (30/09/1928) of Pius XI granted to the PBI academic independence from the Pontifical Biblical Commission allowing it  to confer the degree of Ph. D.  The PBI, as established by the  Pontiff Pius X, still has its own autonomy and is immediately dependent on the Holy See. The Chancellor of the Institute is the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The PBI is predominantly international and  its students currently come from about sixty countries.

The Roman Catholic Church in the United States, up until 1910 had been under the Papal missionary jurisdiction of the Propaganda. Pius X raised the United States Roman Catholic Church to an autonomous position and created two additional American cardinals (Farley and O'Connell) to take their place beside Cardinal Gibbons. 

By the Pope's last important official act (May 25, 1914), 13 candidates received were ordained as cardinals. Pius' death, on August 20th, 1914, was probably hastened by anxiety over the outbreak of the European War. During his illnesses, and especially the last one, his  sisters, plain peasant women, cared for him devotedly. 
Saint Pope Pius X Tomb

Forty years after his death, on May 29th 1954, less than three years after his  February 17th, 1952 beatification, Pius X was canonized.  The four miracles that led to his sainthood were:


1. Sister Marie-Françoise Deperras, a nun who had bone cancer and was cured on 7 December 1928 during a novena in which a relic of Pius X was placed on her chest.
2. Sister Benedetta De Maria, who had cancer, and in a novena started in 1938, she eventually touched a relic statue of Pius X and was cured.
3. Francesco Belsami, an attorney from Naples who had a fatal pulmonary abscess, who was cured upon placing a picture of the Blessed Pope Pius X upon his chest.
4. Sister Maria Ludovica Scorcia, a nun who was afflicted with a serious neurotropic virus, and who, upon several novenas, was entirely cured. 
Pope Pius XII conducted the  canonization Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica before a crowd of about 800,000  Pius X became the first pope to be canonized since Pius V was canonized in 1712.

Consult: A. M. J. J. Waal, Life of Pope Pius X, translated from the second German edition by J. W. Berg (Milwaukee, 1904); Angelo Marchesan, Pap.it Pius X in Leben unci Wort (Einsiedeln, 1906); The Programme of Modernism: Reply to Encyclical of Pius X (New York, 1908); also Life of Pope Pius X, published anonymously (ib., 1904), and Acta Pii PP. X and Acta Apostolicce Sedis (Vatican Press).    


By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited By: Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.




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