Pope Saint Piux X

Pope Saint Piux X

Pope Saint Pius X 

“Born poor and humble of heart,

“Undaunted champion of the Catholic Faith,

“Zealous to restore all things in Christ,

“Crowned a holy life with a holy death”[1]

Who was Pope Saint Pius X?

This is the story of a Pope who refused to stay buried in the annals of history. The boy who became Pope always worked with the image of Mother Church and her founder Jesus Christ before him, leading the way, as if on a path, beckoning him to follow. He never ceased being the boy who worked and struggled endlessly to keep alive the true teachings of the Church!

How long we have waited to know more about Pope Pius X! It is awesome and a little more than exciting to discover how many Popes have succeeded St. Peter, to whom Our Lord gave the keys of His Church, making him our first Pope. I cannot help feeling my heart swell as our research brings us to the road our Pope Pius X trod, along with those who preceded him and those who faithfully followed after him. When we attempt to explain that our Church has had an uninterrupted history dating back to when Jesus walked the earth, commissioning the Apostles to carry on and spread the Good News that He is with us till the end of the world, we need only turn to the unbroken, unending succession of our Popes.

Allow us to bring you the story and life of Pope Pius X, the 257th Pope to fill St. Peter’s Chair as Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, serving at a crucial and disturbing time from 1903-1914. Pope Pius X was the first Pope, since the Counter-Reformation Pope Pius V (1566-72) to be canonized. As his story commences, we pray you will see why Mother Church chose to so honor him. We must say, we are greatly humbled to have the great privilege to write the story of so special a Pope, who did so much to bring about reforms, which are still enriching our Church till today.

From the time we began studying the attacks from within and without our Church, for our book, Scandal of the Cross and Its Triumph, and ever since we first wrote our book, This is My Body, This is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist, the name of Pope St. Pius X has been consistently coming up, drawing us to learn more and yet more about this very special gift from the Lord. We just have to interject that we fall in love with each of the Saints we write about; and so it is with our Popes.

Pope Pius X’s humble beginnings

          Let us begin with our Pope Pius X’s humble beginnings, the Lord choosing whom He will, when He will, for that time in our Church History he is needed. There is no accident with Our Lord; only design. As we walk through the valleys and high places of the lives of our special Pontiffs over the centuries, if we are too quick to crown one or the other the greatest of all, we find ourselves falling in love with yet another Pontiff, crowning him the greatest!

          A light appears in the darkness! On the 2nd of June, 1835, a boy, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born to two people rich in faith but poor in the eyes of the world, Giovanni Battista Sarto and Margarita Sanso.[2] Our Lord, through these two faithful followers, chose to bring a future Pope into the world in Riese, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia which at that time was part of the Austrian Empire, but now is part of the Province of Treviso, in Venice, Italy. The village of Riese would later tack on “Pio X” to its name, making it Riese Pio X.

Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was the second born into a family of ten children. He was baptized on the 3rd of June, the day after he was born, as had also been our custom. His father labored tirelessly, earning a modest income as a postman. Dying in 1852, he sadly would not live to see his son ordained, or the day to day struggle that would accompany his son as he said yes to the life the Lord laid out for him. Giuseppe’s mother earned a small living, laboring as a seamstress. Before she would join his father who had preceded her in death, she would live to see her son raised to a Cardinal!

Although born into poverty, his family scrimped and saved so that this special son could receive private lessons in Latin from their parish priest, and then go on to continue his education at the gymnasium of Castelfranco, Veneto, a secondary school for those preparing to go on to the University. For the four years he attended this fine school, out of necessity, he had to walk about four miles to and from his home to the school, each day.

A zealous, dedicated student, at fifteen years old, in the year 1850, he received the tonsure[3] from the Bishop of Treviso. Not only that! Because he coupled his ability to absorb and retain his lessons with his iron-clad determination to succeed, he received a scholarship from the Diocese of Treviso to attend the Seminary of Padua. There he would finish his classical, philosophical, and theological studies with honors.

Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was ordained a priest on the 18th of September, 1858, at 23 years old; and subsequently was assigned to fill the role of curate[4] of Tombolo, where, out of necessity, he would shoulder most of the duties of the pastor who, as he was quite old and infirmed, was unable to physically fill. That lasted nine years, where, in addition to fulfilling all his duties, (for all intents and purposes) as pastor, he was able to perfect his knowledge of theology by studying Thomas Aquinas and Canon Law. This would color his walk later as Pope. His pastor, Father Constantini, touched by the love and vigor of his young assistant, wrote the following which would turn out to be a prophecy:

“They have sent me as curate a young priest, with orders to mold him to the duties of pastor; in fact, however, the contrary is true. He is so zealous, so full of good sense, and other precious gifts that it is I who can learn much from him. Some day or other he will wear the mitre,[5] of that I am sure. After that who knows?”

It is said of him, Pius X remained a country priest at heart all the years he served Mother Church. In addition, he faced the evils of a world hell bent on destruction, with the determination and dedication of a knight poised for battle.

Not one to lay back, a problem not only a challenge but an opportunity, Father Giuseppe Sarto, with the love of spreading the Truth, opened a school for adult students (laity).

Knowledge of the Faith was always closest to his heart. As the school was not large enough to fill the enormous need; Father Giuseppi began preaching to parishes in the many towns who, having heard of his talents, asked him to come and deliver sermons on the beauty of the Church and its gifts.

In 1867, he was elevated to the position of Arch-priest[6] of Salzano. Granted this great responsibility, especially for so young a priest, he proceeded with the determination he had received from his parents. He accepted the challenge to bring about the restoration of his now parish church which had seen much better days. In addition, he had the hospital enlarged; using his own personal finances (selling what little he had) to accomplish it. And when that was not enough, he was not past begging for help. But he did not become so involved, he would allow his attention to become diverted from his responsibility toward his flock. Remembering his own childhood, he always showed great compassion for the poor, generously helping them, taking money from himself, at times, to do so. He lived his words: “I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor.”

If there is one thing, which colored and permeated Father Giuseppe Sarto’s life, in addition to helping the poor, it was his ongoing love for Mother Church. This precipitated his desire to make available religious education to not only seminarians studying for the priesthood, but to the laity as well, living the philosophy: to truly love you must first learn about Who or what you love, for you cannot love that which you do not know. Always the caring, involved shepherd of his flock, in 1870 he gained the love and respect of not only his parishioners but of all the sick and suffering of the surrounding parishes of Northern Italy, during the devastating, deadly cholera plague that mercilessly struck down men, women and children (irrespective of age). He not only used all his own resources, giving away most of his clothing and food, he personally got involved with the dying and ministered to the families of those struck down.

After nine years of diligent and faithful service as Arch-priest at Salzano, Father Sarto was raised to Canon of the Cathedral at Treviso and Chancellor of that diocese. He was also made Spiritual Director of the seminary. Forming young men to serve Mother Church faithfully and wisely, being true to the tenets passed down by those who had served before them, was one of Spiritual Director Giuseppe Sarto’s dreams. This loving task was truly complementary to his love and focus to educate the people of God to know and subsequently faithfully serve God and all who were placed in their charge. These young men would become shepherds, called to teach and lead those in his care to know the path to the Kingdom of God, falling in love with all that had been passed down by those who trod that path before them.

Father Sarto becomes Bishop of Mantua

When the Bishop of Mantua died in 1884, leaving his position in the diocese of Mantua vacant, without a shepherd, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII named Canon Sarto - Bishop of Mantua. This was in light of Sarto’s great, selfless work of nine years, as Canon of the Cathedral at Treviso, and Chancellor of that diocese, as well as Spiritual Director of the seminary.

As Bishop, he stated, something he lived by all the years of his life:

“Hope is the sole companion of my life, the greatest support in uncertainty, the strongest power in situations of weakness.”

Bishop Giuseppe Sarto soon discovered the gift he was awarded was a badly fragmented diocese, more like a hornet’s nest just waiting to erupt, its winged inhabitants ready to attack!

With his new assignment, in 1884, as newly appointed Bishop of Mantua, Giuseppe Sarto’s role not only included taking over a very troubled diocese, but also the continued responsibility of filling the role of Canon of the Cathedral of Treviso as well as Chancellor of that Diocese. In his capacity as Bishop, he insisted on retaining his role of Chancellor, therefore continually involving himself in making sure public school students received catechesis, formerly only available in Catholic schools. In addition, he kept the role of Spiritual Director and that of Rector of the seminary, as well as that of Vicar-General and examiner of the clergy. As Rector of the seminary, Bishop Sarto treasured his task of being involved with the education and formation of future priests in the seminary, as for many years he had played a viable part, teaching Dogmatic Theology and Moral Theology. Desiring the seminarians have the proper foundation, he required they study the doctrine and method of St. Thomas Aquinas, copies of which he gave at no charge to the poorer students who could not afford to purchase them.

In addition to his many responsibilities, he made sure adult laity would receive a comprehensive knowledge of their Faith; for you cannot pass down to the next generations, something or Someone you do not know. In spite of his many duties, Bishop Sarto made educating seminarians a top priority; but not to the neglect of children who were prohibited learning the Faith in the public schools they attended. Sundays, he would take off from the seminaries and personally teach the children. Unlike Bob, I did not have the opportunity to attend Catholic school. Whatever I knew, I learned through a Sister in CCD, after school, once a week. So, I have always had a soft part in my heart for Pope Pius X, for bringing about this gift which is still available to generations yet to come; and with God’s help will always be.

Bishop Sarto reformer, battles heresies fostered by the government!

The diocese of Mantua, he inherited, as Bishop, was under great attack, as the secular governing body of the area was diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church and the spread of its Truths, passed down from the beginning by our Lord Jesus Christ. They did everything they could to kill or, in any event, block the spread of the teachings of the Church. They levied astronomical taxes on seminaries and other religious institutions. The teaching of the Faith was under siege, with the government running all religious institutions allowed to operate, including most especially seminaries. Consequently, the seminarians, the future priests, were taught one heresy after the other, with Catholic teaching not even a glimpse or a promise.

As the teaching, they received, was heretical, these cancers were allowed to grow and permeate the entire body of believers, to a point there was little remnant of the Faith which had not been corroded by design. Leaders of governments have historically endeavored to take over the Catholic Church because there is no body of believers so ardent and faithful. These leaders have known if they could take over the Church, they could take control of the citizens of the country, of the world.

Bishop Sarto promotes the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine

As many of the parish priests were not using the catechism to teach, Bishop Sarto often visited the churches in his diocese and taught the classes himself. In his letters to the faithful he proposed and then fostered the organization of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, or as we know it, today, CCD, for all parishes in his diocese.

The Lord blessed His faithful servant, and all that he had accomplished, and in 1893, nine short years after he had staunchly, unreservedly filled the shoes of Bishop of Mantua, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, addressing the outstanding changes brought about by his relentless diligence and dedication, resulting in an almost humanly impossible metanoia[7] or change that came about, conferred upon him the title and the responsibility that accompanied his new title as Cardinal. If that was not enough; in addition to all his new responsibilities, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII appointed him Patriarch[8] of Venice!

Now Cardinal Sarto, he soon discovered his new, additional roles of Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice encompassed nothing less than the massive mountain of problems he had endured in his roles in Tombolo, Salzano and Mantua; differing only in the more intensive, wider sweep of needs and challenges facing him now. The only difference, the color of red, symbolic of his new office as Cardinal, replaced the color of purple and black he had traditionally worn as Bishop. Otherwise, the needs and the problems were the same; only the acceleration and the magnitude more intense and all encompassing. To begin with, the newly appointed Cardinal Sarto was required to wait eighteen months before he could take over his recently acquired apostolate as Cardinal of a new diocese.

The Italian government refused to accept the appointment of Bishop Sarto as Cardinal, adamantly maintaining the right of nomination as had been formerly implemented by the Austrian government, before them. It caused quite a stir in the papers, generating much bitterness and division. As the uproar had nothing to do with the appointment of Cardinal Sarto, it was finally amicably resolved between the Holy See and the Italian government through the arbitration of Minister Crispi, who had recently returned to power. As a compromise pleasing to the Italian government, the Holy See raised the mission of Eritrea to an Apostolic Prefecture, with the Italian Capuchins in charge. So! That hurdle crossed, it was time for Cardinal Sarto to begin his new assignment!

The Lord, always balancing discord with accord, the ends at rare times justifying the means, the struggle finally over, as the new Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Sarto found conditions somewhat better than he had endured in Mantua. As before, the newly assigned Patriarch of Venice immediately zeroed in on the seminary, establishing the faculty of Canon Law.

He found himself involved with the everyday care of his clergy and the young seminarians; and by choice, the plight and welfare of the poor. His office, different in name only from the office he filled as Bishop and Canon, the education and the needs of the people remained paramount in the heart and mind of the new Cardinal, as he was involved with the everyday needs and attacks the poor faced! Any society focused on the welfare of the people earned an open door to the Cardinal. Aware of the power of the written word, when a diocesan newspaper was purported to be closing, due to impending bankruptcy, Cardinal Sarto replied “I would rather sell my crozier[9] and my robes of office rather than let that paper go under.”[10]

As Cardinal-Patriarch, Cardinal Sarto shunned all political involvement, using what little extra time he had for social works, which were close and dear to his heart, and his strengthening of local parochial banks. However in his first pastoral letter to the Venetians, over whom he now presided, newly appointed Cardinal-Patriarch Sarto made one thing perfectly clear as to matters concerning his Holiness Leo XIII!: “There should be no questions, no subtleties, no opposing of personal rights to his rights, but only obedience.”

          On July 20, 1903, the reign of Pope Leo XIII came to an end; and the world cried! As when he was alive, this memorable Pontiff, who touched the lives of all God’s children, would not go out softly, carefully tucked away. The world mourned the passing of this beloved Pontiff. I can only relate to the reaction of the passing of our beloved Pope John Paul II. Beloved by all, his passing was a grief that surpassed borders, with Catholics and non-Catholics, Christians and non-Christians, Jews and brothers and sisters from the other varied religious beliefs saddened, because he had been truly an instrument of God in their midst.

The Pope is dead! Long live the Pope!

          God gave us a gift in Pope Leo XIII, a gentle, but strong Pope, a loving, compassionate shepherd to lead his flock. And now, standing below the Papal window, where the new Pope would greet them, his followers cried because there could never be another Pope who could step into his Papal slippers. Upon hearing the sorrowful news, the Cardinals from the four corners of the world converged on Rome to participate in the conclave where a new Pope would be elected.

          God always sends us prophets and leaders to lead us in the battle. Cardinal Sarto deeply mourned the passing of his friend and mentor, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII. But due to his selfless generosity, he had barely enough money, to make this monumental trip to Rome. Convinced he would not be chosen, he purchased a roundtrip ticket back to Venice. As Cardinal Sarto’s eyes scanned the arches leading up to St. Peter’s Basilica, and the statues of great Saints standing above them, he could not help choking up, holding back the tears. After all this is the center of the Church he so loved. His eyes traveled up to the window, where the announcement would be made, the balcony where his new Pope would greet the faithful with arms held out wide, as if embracing his children, calling them to come closer and closer, beckoning them to be part of him, and the new path he would be taking, answering, along with St. Peter before him, Jesus’ command, Feed My Lambs; Feed My sheep!

          Their Vicar, Pope Leo XIII having died, the next step was to gather the Cardinals to elect his successor. It seemed fairly certain the next Pope would be Pope Leo XIII’s secretary of state, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla. On the first ballet, Cardinal Rampolla received 24 votes; Cardinal Gotti had 17 votes and Cardinal Sarto 5 votes. On the second ballot, both Rampolla and Sarto received 5 additional votes. You did not have to be a master mathematician to figure out; it was fairly certain Rampolla was going to be elected the next Pope! However, the next day a veto arrived from Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary turning the tide of the votes away from Rampolla towards Sarto! Many of the cardinals not only protested the interference of the Emperor, they threatened to elect Rampolla despite the veto!

          That was not to be, as the third vote had already begun. Thus the vote had to continue. There were 2 additional votes with Rampolla having received 30 votes and Sarto 24. The following morning came and it was fairly certain it appeared the vote was leaning toward Sarto, with Rampolla having received 10 votes, Gotti 2 and Sarto 50 votes!

          Sitting within the conclave of Cardinals, Cardinal Sarto could not believe what was coming to pass! Incredulously, it appeared, with each successive ballot, votes for Cardinal Sarto grew and Cardinal Rampolla’s lessened! As the vote appeared to be coming closer and closer to electing him, Cardinal Sarto pleaded, he was neither qualified nor worthy to occupy the chair of St. Peter as the new Pope. When the announcement was decisively made, that Cardinal Sarto had received the necessary votes to be elected to fill the chair of St. Peter as the new Pope, Cardinal Sarto bowed his head and tears began to flow, as he whispered, “Fiat voluntas tua” (Thy will be done!).

          On the 4th of August, 1903, Cardinal Sarto became Pope Pius X! This was the last time a veto would be permitted to be employed by a Catholic monarch which could influence or alter the proceedings of the Papal conclave.

          That momentous day, Cardinal Sarto humbly took as his papal name Pius X out of respect for recent former Pontiffs, bearing the same name; especially Pope Pius IX, who had fought against theological liberals and for papal supremacy. On August 9, 1903, Cardinal Sarto no more, Pius X was crowned Vicar of Christ on earth, accompanied by the love and chanting of his spiritual children waiting in the piazza for their new Pope to appear on the balcony, crying: “Viva il Papa!” “Viva il Papa!”Viva!”

          The gentle boy, who had never dreamed of anything so awesome, was now Spiritual father of the whole Catholic world. But do not allow any of his modest beginnings, fool you, like the simple pectoral cross humbly fashioned of gilded medal, he wore for his coronation. For as he asserted to the shocked entourage following him, this was the one he always wore, and so he brought it with him. He was also known for minimizing the number of papal ceremonies. But, on the other hand, he did away with the custom of the pope eating alone, as he invited friends to join him.

          Our new Pope knew who he was! Never forgetting the simple background he came from; but respectful of the chair of Peter he had been chosen to occupy, he allowed no one to demean his position as Pope, Spiritual father of the Church. There were those who dared challenge him; for example, leaders of Rome’s high society, who dared confront him, on his apparent refusal to make his peasant sisters papal countesses, to which they will remember never to challenge the new pope, with his response, “I have made them sisters of the Pope; what more can I do for them?” He rejected any special favors for his family. His brother remained a postal clerk. His favorite nephew remained a village priest.

          As he grew in his ministry, he was a little overcome at times with each encounter he was asked to face, deeming himself forever unworthy! Yet battling each decision, challenge by challenge, he always embarked on the next step he was asked to take! He now knew this had been God’s plan for him from the beginning! Looking on the over-powering responsibility of this final appointment, the world’s faithful now his parishioners, he dearly embraced those who depended on him, carefully praying over each decision he was called to make! As he did so, he carefully considered as God’s children those from each and every country from the east to the west, and the north to the south, in the world.

          He prayed, painstakingly considering and, at times, reconsidering the possible ramifications that could result from one of his encyclicals prior to its execution. But once he determined it was God’s Will, he stepped forth unwaveringly!

The new Pope Pius X and his Lady, Mother Mary!

          With his very first encyclical, he clearly pronounced the essence, the heart and soul, the real meaning of his pontificate “to restore all things in Christ,” through Mary. A devoted son of Mother Mary, our new Pope Pius X, in 1904, made it clear, in his first encyclical, Ad Diem Illum that as we are all spiritual children of Mary, and as she is our mother, we must revere her as our mother. As she is the Mother of Christ, Who is the Word made Flesh with a physical body like every other man; and as Savior of mankind, He had a spiritual and mystical body, the Church. Here it is through Mary, the Mother of Christ that, the newly elected Pope Pius X believed, beyond a shadow of a doubt there is no surer or more direct road than by the Virgin Mary to achieve his goal.”[11]

          The pontificate of Pius X was noted for his conservative theology and reforms in liturgy and church law. In his first encyclical, he stated that his overriding policy was: “We champion the authority of God. His authority and Commandments should be recognized, deferred to, and respected.”

          At the conclave, he had been reticent to accept the overwhelming decision, by the Cardinals, he occupy the chair of St. Peter, as Vicar of Christ on earth, arguing he did not have the qualifications to lead the children of God. Yet he was the only Pope in the 20th century who had the invaluable, extensive pastoral experience at the parish level, which would fare him well in his decision-making.

          Knowing he could not accomplish his decrees without help, acting through his bishops, he turned to the clergy. He proposed the bishops begin with the seminaries, reorganizing them to provide and pass on the best, the truest knowledge of the Faith to future priests, as they would hold the keys to the souls of the Faithful, who have always trusted that which their priests taught. Therefore, Pope Pius X’s monumental dream was to convert the seminaries into instructing young men who would become future priests, passing on all they had received to the faithful. Pope Pius X’s dream was to mold future priests into holy priests, who would one day become holy bishops, who would lead other priests on their road to holiness. The heart and soul of Pope Pius X was to bring about a true metanoia (conversion) of these chosen men, called to holiness, who would bring about holiness in others through their faithful observance of the Faith.

He strongly stressed that the evils of this world

were traceable to an ignorance of God

          His second path to holiness was one dear to his heart - directly instructing the young and old in the Truths of our Catholic Faith; consequently bringing about a Christian Restoration! He stresses that in his encyclical (Acerbo Nimis), “On the Teaching of Christian Doctrine.” He strongly stressed that the evils of this world were traceable to an ignorance of God, and it was necessary for priests to pass on the eternal truths of the Church, which have survived the attacks of the enemy since her very inception.[12] And to do so, the priests were to be instructed to teach in the vernacular[13] the laity could understand, using tools and circumstances from the laity’s very life experiences, they could relate to. [We have always insisted that Jesus did not speak down to His children. Jesus taught, using examples and incidents they could relate to, that had meaning for them.] This was of such importance to the Pope; he was known to personally give instruction to the faithful on Sunday, in one of his courtyards in the Vatican.

A Universal Catechism is born!

          In keeping with his desire to bring the true teachings of the Faith to all God’s children he began by ordering a new catechism to be published for the Diocese of Rome.[14] Although he initially planned to have it available strictly for the faithful of Rome, in 1905, Pope Pius X, in his Papal Encyclical Acerbo Nimis, issued a mandate authorizing the installation of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and the placement of a catechism class in every parish in the world. He stressed the need of authentic Catholic catechesis not only for the young, for children, but for adults as well. He provided detailed instructions, especially lists stressing authentic schools for not only children unable to attend Catholic schools, but for young adults attending non-Catholic universities (or colleges).


Pope of the Eucharist!

          One of his reforms, Pope Pius X is best known and loved for is his “Decree on Holy Communion,” earning him the loving title: Pope of the Eucharist! His monumental, life-giving Decrees on Holy Communion, were issued from 1905-1910. These Decrees opened wide the door to a deeper understanding of the Church and the sacrificial love of the Savior which is available to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, every time we receive Holy Communion.

First: Before all else, Pius X was interested in encouraging holiness in all the faithful. One of the ways he advocated this was through the Decree S. Congr. Concil., 20 Dec., 1905, which allowed the children to receive First Holy Communion at a younger age than had been formerly required; that being shortly after they reached the age of reason.

Second: With these Decrees, all Catholics were encouraged to receive frequently the Holy Eucharist, if possible daily.

Third: The fasting period for those who were ill was relaxed, to allow the ill to receive twice a month or even more often.

“Pope of the Blessed Sacrament”

          In addition, and dear to His Holiness’ heart was the frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance, in order to receive Holy Communion more worthily. Pope Pius’s devotion to the Holy Eucharist would earn him the title: “Pope of the Blessed Sacrament” which is how he is known by many of his devotees till today. As lovers of the Holy Eucharist, it would be impossible, studying his life, to not be devoted to his memory and his gift to Mother Church, now and forever.

          Something happened to his Holiness! On one occasion, the Pope gave Holy Communion to a small English child of four years old. It came to pass because the Pope had gently asked the little child if he knew who it was being received in the Eucharist, and the child answered “Jesus.” The most touching part of this encounter was, the child was not Catholic!

His Holiness had a great devotion to Mary Most Holy

          Consequently, he chose the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception to promote and encourage personal devotion to the Mother of God, as if from a son or daughter. Coupling the Marian Congress with the Coronation (or crowning) of the Image of the Immaculate Conception in the choir of St. Peter’s Basilica, he wholeheartedly desired to bestow a profound honor and glory upon the Immaculata, our Most Precious Mother, which he accomplished.

          Considering his humble beginnings, it would come as no surprise that our Pope would have a vested interest in problems his afflicted children were bearing. In 1905, he published (Il fermo proposito), “On Catholic Social Action.”

          By the very nature of things, the Church has consequently become the guardian and protector of Christian society. That fact was universally recognized and admitted in other periods of history. In truth, it formed a solid foundation for civil legislation. On that very fact rested the relations between Church and State; the public recognition of the authority of the Church in those matters which touched upon conscience in any manner, the subordination of all the laws of the State to the Divine laws of the Gospel; the harmony of the two powers in securing the temporal welfare of the people in such a way that their eternal welfare did not suffer.” Vatican.va

          Our Pontiff, ever involved with the suffering of his children who the Lord had placed in his hands, proposed some practical remedies to aid in resolving the fragile situation facing the country with its serious social consequences. He proposed beginning with the all-powerful intercession of prayer. But then, acknowledging this was not in itself enough to resolve this fuming, impending situation, he ascertained that society could not truly be led back to Christ and His Church through prayer alone; but also required facing the problems, as had been foreshown in the lives of the Apostles and of Saints like Francis Xavier, bringing about necessary change to resolve the differences!

Liturgy of the Church

          Another area dear to our Pope’s heart was the Liturgy of the Church; and he went about vigorously reforming it. His Holiness felt so strongly, he issued “Motu proprio on the Restoration of Church Music,’’ which encompassed the primary goal of Church music to be ‘sanctity, beauty of form, and universality.”[15] The Pope, believing this could be best accomplished in the Gregorian chant, ordered it to be used throughout the Church, worldwide. But he warned against using the chant, solely, to the exclusion of modern compositions, which the Pope was open to, as long as they were true to norms prescribed to lead the faithful reverently to our Lord and Savior.


The Breviary – the Liturgy of the Hours

          Pope Pius X had an urgency to reform the Breviary; so much so, he founded the Biblical Institute for the advancement of scholarship in the study of Scriptures,[16] and the Holy Mass. In addition to his sincere desire to promote devotion in the lives of the clergy and the laity through the Breviary and the Holy Mass, he stressed the need of a renewal, a deep interest in the Holy Eucharist, stressing the universal truth:

“Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”

Code of Canon Law

          It was Pope Pius X who first implemented and consequently oversaw the structuring of a universal Code of Canon Law.[17] As Canon Law varied from region to region, country to country, with no worldwide unity, no all encompassing overall direction, no objectives, Pope Pius X, took on the monumental task of arranging laws, rules and etc. On March 19th, 1904, Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church he appointed a commission of Cardinals to draft a universal set of laws covering the whole Catholic world, which would remain the Code of Canon Law for most of the Twentieth Century.

          Seeing their incredible ability, surpassed only by their profound love and allegiance to Mother Church, he chose two priests (who would one day, be his successors) to play an integral part in the formation of the Code! One was Giacomo della Chiesa (later called Pope Benedict XV), who succeeded Pope Pius X and the other Eugenio Pacelli (later called Pope Pius XII)[18].

          In a little less than 14 years, the work was completed, examined and approved by bishops throughout the world; its Decrees declared on Pentecost Sunday, May 27th, 1917 by Pope Benedict XV successor to Pope Pius X. It became Law on May 19, 1918; remaining in effect until Advent 1983, when a revised Code of Canon Law was introduced.

Pope Pius X and his Encyclical regarding the ordination of priests       In an Encyclical to his Italian bishops, July 1906, Pope Pius X directed they use the greatest wisdom, care and foresight when considering the ordination of priests, calling to their attention the fact that the younger clergy were known to exhibit an air of obstinate individualism that was particularly deadly in that it was contrary to Church teaching, and therefore deadly to Church discipline. Splitting the one universal Church founded by Our Lord Jesus into thousands, if not millions of different personal opinions, not necessarily truths, it promoted separatism, cheating the faithful of hearing the Word of God, of the One Church, as has been passed down throughout the centuries, from the very beginning.


Books on the Popes 

Ebooks on the Popes

Pope Pius X and his love – the preservation of the Faith

          The Pope’s single most passionate love and consequently focus was for the preservation of the Faith as has been passed down from Jesus, to St. Peter, to all Popes who followed, totally devoting much of his papacy to faithfully adhering to the mandate to which he swore allegiance. This was brought to the foreground, when such occasions would arise, as in the Encyclical regarding the centenary of Saint Gregory the Great[19], where never losing the beating heart of his convictions, Pope Pius X maintained the need of caution regarding the dangers of vacillating from one new theological method to another, stripping the Doctrine of the Faith of its ageless teaching of objective, absolute, and immutable truth. It was compounded even more, when those errors were diabolically fortified with subversive criticism of Holy Scripture and the origins of Christianity.[20]

Pope Pius X condemned Modernism “the synthesis of all heresies”

          On the 3rd of July, 1907, Pope Pius X had published the Decree “Lamentabili Sane Exitu” (also called the Syllabus of Pius X), in which he formally condemned sixty-five modernist or relativist propositions concerning the nature of the Church, Revelation, Biblical exegesis,[21] the Sacraments and the Divinity of Christ. Most of these propositions concerned Holy Scripture, their inspiration, and the doctrine of Jesus and of the Apostles; with others relating to Dogma, the Sacraments, and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope).[22]

          No sooner was the Decree “Lamentabili Sane Exitu” (or “A Lamentable Departure Indeed”) published on July 3rd of the year 1907, on September 8th of that same year, in the famous encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (or “Feeding the Lord’s flock”), Pope Pius X formally condemned Modernism, and other principles described as evolutionary, which allowed change to Roman Catholic Dogma. The Anti-Modernism, or Loyalty Oath was introduced in this Encyclical. Modernism attacks Sacred Scripture, aiming particularly at the four Gospels, denying them, claiming they were manipulation designed to lead an unknowing faithful into damnation. They attacked the very foundation of the Church, maintaining Jesus was only a prophet, born of a time, for that time, not the Second Person of the Trinity, not the Son of God. They denied that Jesus instituted any Sacraments. And these were priests and bishops who had sworn allegiance to Jesus and His Church![23] In the religious sense, relativism is most evident in the area of moral theology, for here many deny the premises upon which moral law rests, whereas others consider only the momentary situation. The denial of a standard of conduct is claimed under the assertion that one really cannot know which the true one is.[24]

          His Holiness, through this Encyclical condemned Modernism as ‘the synthesis of all heresies,’ pointing out its danger concerning philosophy, apologetics, exegesis, history, liturgy, and discipline, thus showing the contradiction between the novel, pride-filled plastic approach of modernism and the Faith which has survived the slings and arrows of the enemy of God for centuries. One of the remedies proposed in the Pope’s decree, was the establishment of an official body of censors of books.

          Pope Pius X defended the Catholic Church against the most insidiously popular, and therefore threatening, widely broadcasted attacks which had inundated the 19th Century and was then inundating the 20th Century on all we believe, such as indifferentism[25] and relativism, about which former popes, Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Pius IX had forewarned. Taking note of what Pope Leo XIII, his former mentor and role model had said, he advocated using St. Thomas Aquinas and Thomism[26].

          Pope Pius X staunchly rejected modernism, a divisive scourge that had infiltrated the Church, threatening to destroy her and all she stood for, from within. To offset this attack, he promoted the teachings of our belief, passed down to us by the early Church Fathers, which till today have weathered the storm. That accomplished, in the Motu Proprio[27] “Sacrorum antistitum” Pope Pius X elaborated on Pope Leo XIII’s provisions on preaching that had already been established and consequently implemented, calling to everyone’s attention the restrictions under this Encyclical, that anyone who had the privilege of bringing the Word of God to the faithful (that is a cleric or priest or bishop) should take an oath against modernism, binding himself to reject the errors that are denounced in the encyclical or in the decree “Lamentabili”. Only 40 clerics refused to take the oath!

          As the study of the Bible is most crucially important, both the most significant and yet the most precarious study in theology, His Holiness was inspired to found in Rome, a center for these studies, a center where young men, feeling called to the priesthood, could confidently study knowing that what they will bring to the family of Christ is the Truth as passed down from the very beginning, when Jesus walked the face of the earth. As always, the laity of the whole Catholic family answered the call and through the combined generosity of the rich and the poor, which scanned the entire world, the Biblical Institute rose, to be placed under the Jesuits at that time.

The Pope’s Decree re: mixed marriages

          In 1908, His Holiness’ papal decree “Ne Temere” was pronounced, causing multiple problems; it appeared the primary one being “mixed marriages!” This brought about concern among those couples, where there was one partner who was Catholic and the other was not. One instance, in particular was the marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant, where some clergy of different Protestant Denominations feared priests would use pressure to guide the couple to either leave their religiously invalid marriage (according to the Catholic Church) or at least seek counseling. Priests were granted the use of discretion in determining which course to take, when approached to officiate a mixed marriage. They could agree or disagree to performing the ceremony. Should they agree, one of the non-negotiable conditions would have to be that the children be raised Catholic!



Pope Pius X and his strained relations with the Kingdom of Italy

          As the secular authority (or government) in Rome spread its tentacles, deeper and deeper into the world of the Church, striking out, without restraint, challenging all that belonged solely to the papacy (for instance annexing lands that belonged to the papacy), Pope Pius X, not one to lie down and die, took action! He struck back, blow for blow, with the authority that only he, by the apostolic privilege granted him by God Himself could render. But the government, like a smoldering fire threatened to smother the papacy, robbing all that belonged to the papacy, ergo the Catholic Church!! Not fearful of the heated threats aimed at him and the Church, Pope Pius X stood his ground, stoically retaining his prisoner in the Vatican stand, until he realized another more deadly threat was impending, the rise of socialism! With that in mind, Pope Pius X, by his encyclical Il Fermo Proposito June 11, 1905,[28] modified the Non Expedit, which declared that Catholics could not be candidates or vote in Parliamentary elections. In Fermo Proposito, our Pope stated that, when there was question of preventing the election of a "subversive" candidate, the bishops could ask for a suspension of the rule, and invite Catholics to hold themselves in readiness to go to the polls, in order to vote for deputies who were not socialist.

The battle between Pope Pius X and Russia       

As history tells us, there has been an ongoing war between Catholics and forgive them, Lord, sometimes even other religions who purport (propose, claim) to be followers of Christ. Such was (and perhaps still is) the Catholic Church in Russia. Nicholas II of Russia had issued a decree on the 22nd of February, 1903 promising religious freedom for the Catholic Church. Not thoroughly satisfied, in 1905, he followed with a constitution, which covered religious freedom! Sadly, the Russian Orthodox Church, feeling threatened, demanded arduous interpretations. Consequently, the results were: Papal Decrees were not allowed and the religious freedom Nicholas II desired became a distant memory, as contacts with the Vatican remained banned.

Pope Pius X and the United States

          As the Church in America was growing in leaps and bounds, His Holiness lifted the missionary status assigned to the United States! Those who had chosen to immigrate to this land of the free, helped to bring about the increasing number of Catholics, who in turn brought about Pope Pius X’s gift of fifteen new dioceses where the newly arrived faithful in America could enjoy the gift in our country of the Catholic Church. In his pontificate, Pope Pius X raised two Americans to the office of Cardinals!

          Pope Pius X was like a hero with the American people. They liked him; they saw him touchable, they could relate to him, somewhat, partly due to his impoverished beginnings! Here was someone, an ordinary person coming up from poverty to sit on the papal throne as Pope! It sounded very like an American’s dream – one we could rise up from sometimes very poor circumstances. We Americans had a dream we could be anyone, no ladder too high to scale, our ancestors told us, as long as we worked to achieve our dreams. And work we did! Oh yes, he was someone we could look up to as a hero! We loved him!

          On July 8, 1914, Mary’s Pope had an occasion to honor Her in this new land. And She agreed to take on the role of Mother to this baby nation, never relinquishing Her responsibility, listening to our prayers and presenting them to Her Son Jesus. Pope Pius X approved the request by Cardinal James Gibbons to invoke the patronage of The Immaculate Conception for the construction site of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Pope Pius X beatified twelve souls and canonized four:

Those he beatified during his pontificate were:

Marie Genevieve Meunier (1906)            John of Ruysbroeck (1908)

Rose Chretien (1906)                               Andrew Nam Thung (1908)

Valentin Faustino Berri Ochoa (1906)     Agatha Lin (1909)

Saint Clarus (1907)                                   Agnes De (1909)

Zdislava Berka (1907)                            Joan of Arc (1909)

John Bosco (1907)                                   John Eudes (1909)

Those he canonized were:

Alexander Sauli (1904)                             Gerard Majella (1904

Clement Mary Hofbauer (1909)               Joseph Oriol (1909)


          Pope Pius X during his pontificate issued sixteen encyclicals Pope Pius also confirmed but not infallibly, the existence of Limbo in Roman Catholic theology in his 1905 Catechism, saying that the unbaptized “do not have the joy of God but neither do they suffer... they do not deserve Paradise, but neither do they deserve Hell or Purgatory.”

Pope Pius X prepares for his final journey

          In 1913, ten years after he took his first steps, reluctantly accepting the command to rise to the seat of Peter, our beloved Pope Pius X suffered

a heart attack, which seriously debilitated him, leaving him with desires he still had, but with strength he no longer had to execute them.

          Then in 1914, on the 15th of August, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, our brave Pope, ardent soldier of Mary, was attacked by an enemy he was powerless to combat and overcome! He suffered another heart attack, only this one he would not survive. The situation in the world growing more and more dire, he helplessly watched His children being manipulated into World War I (which lasted from 1914-1918). For him, there were no borders separating his loved ones, all were his children, all! They say he grieved sorrowfully, moaning he had lived too long, his 79 years had flown, too fast; and now it looked like he was being called Home, and he had to leave his children and Church suffering from the pangs of war.

          On the 20th of August, our beloved Pope Pius X suffered his last heart attack, and those who have witnessed the death of a holy person, will attest, there was a presence, an unexplainable presence in the room – a Saint had died! He will always be remembered; death has not won; he is more alive than many who walk the earth! Sleep well, special son of Mary and soldier of Christ, we love you and will never forget you! And we make, as our motto and banner, our desire, like our great Pope’s last words, “To restore all things in Christ.”

“To restore all things in Christ”

          As had been his wish, Pope Pius X’s remains were placed in an austere, simple tomb in the crypt below St. Peter’s Basilica. As was the custom, to aid in the embalming process, Papal physicians would remove all inside organs of the remains of a Pope. Pope Pius X emphatically prohibited this practice, and his remains were not embalmed! Nor have any of our popes, who have succeeded Pope Pius X, allowed this practice.

          Although it was not until 1954, that the canonization of Pope Pius X took place, the process began immediately upon his death. He was held in great reverence and devotion from the very beginning of his departure to his much deserved Home in Heaven. In a letter dated September 24, 1916, written by Bishop Leo, bishop of Nicotera and Tropea, Pope Pius X was called “a great Saint and a great Pope.” And I pray, reading about this great Pope, you will feel the same!

          Our Pope refused to die! Rather his children around the world, refused to allow him to die! The faithful came in such great staggering numbers; the crypt where his tomb was placed could not hold them all. Therefore, a small metal cross was set into the floor of the Basilica, inscribed with Pius Papa X, thus allowing the faithful to kneel directly above our Pope’s tomb. Masses were said near his tomb until 1930. [Whenever we bring pilgrims on one of our Journeys of Faith we stop in St. Peter’s Basilica, and make it a practice to celebrate Holy Mass in front of St. Pope Pius X’s tomb, where his incorrupt body rests in a glass and brass sarcophagus, for the faithful to see and venerate.]

Pope Pius X gains the title, Venerable

          Devotion to our great Pope never waned; devotees of his Holiness kept pouring in to implore his intercession! And that was during two devastating world wars! On the 14th of February, 1923, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Pope Pius X’s ascent to the chair of Peter, the first step to his canonization began with the formal appointment of those who would carry out the attainment of his cause. At that time, commemorating this momentous step toward the realization of his canonization, a monument was erected in his honor in St. Peter’s Basilica.

          On the 19th of August, 1939, Pope Pius XII[29] delivered a highly deserved tribute to Pope Pius X at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. It was followed, a short time later, on the 12th of February, 1943 with the cause of Pope Pius X leaping forward, with our dear Pope, due to his display of heroic virtues, receiving the title: “Venerable.”

Pope Pius X’s coffin is exhumed

          May 19th, 1944, a little more than a year after he was proclaimed Venerable, the Vatican ordered Pope Pius X’s coffin exhumed. It was reverently carried to the Chapel of the Holy Crucifix in St. Peter’s Basilica, there to determine the condition of Pope Pius X’s body, necessary for canonical approval. Upon opening the coffin, those examining the remains were astounded to find they were amazingly well preserved and that was 30 years after His Holiness had died, without an embalming, as he had explicitly mandated! The examiners found “all of the body of Pius X was in an excellent state of conservation.” The examination of the remains having been more than satisfactorily completed, and the end of the apostolic process toward Pope Pius X’s cause accomplished, Pope Pius XII bestowed upon Pius X the title of Venerable Servant of God. As Rome was liberated by the allies during this time, Pope Pius X’s body was able to be exposed for 45 days before being returned to his tomb.

The process begins by which the Beatification could be realized!

          There was only one course to take - begin the investigation through which the Beatification could be realized! Therefore, investigations by which The Sacred Congregation of Rites could evaluate miracles allegedly resulting through the intercession of Pope Pius X began! The Sacred Congregation of Rites, after scrupulous, thorough investigation, declared two miracles having been realized through the intercession of our Pope Pius X.

          The first was the case of Sr. Marie-Françoise, a nun who had been diagnosed with inoperable bone cancer and was cured on December 7th, 1928, as a novena was in progress, when a relic of Pius X was placed on her chest!

          The second case declared a miracle, came about when another nun, Sr. Benedetta De Marie who had cancer, was praying a novena which had started in the year 1938. During the novena, when she touched a relic statue of Pope Pius X she was miraculously cured.

          Pope Pius XII approved the two miracles on February 11, 1951, and on March the 4th he proclaimed the Church could continue with the beatification process. Praise God, on the 3rd of June, 1951, Pope Pius X’s beatification took place at St. Peter’s Basilica, with 23 Cardinals, hundreds of Bishops and Archbishops, and over 100,000 faithful attending. In his Beatification Decree, Pope Pius XII conferred upon Pope Pius X the title: “Pope of the Eucharist” honoring him for his monumental (inspired) (historic) work extending the Rite of Holy Communion to children.

Pope Pius X is canonized

          The Sacred Congregation of Rites recognized two more miracles.

(1)The first miracle: Francesco Belsami, an attorney from Naples, who had a fatal pulmonary abscess. He was miraculously cured when a picture of the Blessed Pope Pius X was laid upon his chest.

(2)The second miracle: a nun, Sr. Maria Ludovica Scorcia, was seriously ill with a neurotropic virus, a serious virus attacking the nervous system, capable of infecting nerve cells. Upon making several novenas, praying for Blessed Pope Pius X’s intercession, she was completely cured, with not even the smallest after affect.

          On May 29th, 1954, less than 3 years from the time our Pope was beatified, Pope Pius X was no longer Pope Blessed Pius X, but officially canonized, Pope Saint Pius X. The Canonization Mass was presided over by Pope Pius XII at St Peter’s Basilica before over 800,000 of the faithful and myriads of clerical members of the Church. Pius X became the first Pope to be canonized, since Pius V was canonized in 1712. His canonization was taped and recorded by television news broadcasters of that time.

          His Feast Day was initially assigned, in 1955, to be celebrated the 3rd of September, along with St. Gregory the Great. His rank in the General Roman Calendar, since 1969 is that of Memorial and the Feast Day is celebrated on the 21st of August, closer to the date of his death, the 20th of August, which is problematic as it is the Feast Day of St. Bernard.

          The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (or as we know it, CCD) was one of the biggest supporters of his canonization. Having initiated a prayer crusade for his canonization, they were able to send over two million names of the faithful to the Vatican!

Miracles continued to pour in. The faithful, who always loved him and believed in all he did or tried to do, continued to pray for his intercession. And so, the Miracles continued to come, and come!

Papal Coat of Arms

          When Pius X was Bishop of Mantua, the shield our Pope, then Bishop Sarto took, showed an anchor cast into a stormy sea, lit up by a six-pointed star of gold. These were inspired by Hebrews 6:19, which states that the hope we have is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. He stated that “hope is the sole companion of my life, the greatest support in uncertainty, the strongest power in situations of weakness.”

          Although not present upon his arms as Pope, the only motto attributed to Pope Pius X is the one for which he is best known, are his last words, “To restore all things in Christ.”

          We are so very grateful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to learn, more deeply, about this great gift, our Pope Saint Pius X and share his life with you. And as always, as with all the greats, Our Lord has given us, we are sad to leave our Pope! Until we meet again, prayerfully in Heaven, thank you dear Pope Pius X for allowing us to bring your Spirit-filled life to our brothers and sisters in Jesus and Mary.

Related Items:

Books on the Popes 

Browse Popes Media Collection


[1] Inscription on his tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica

[2] In Europe and many other parts of the world, the wife keeps and uses her maiden name after she is married.

[3] The tonsure is the outward, visible sign of shaving the back of the head, which symbolizes Christ’s Crown of Thorns.

[4] Curate - another title for chaplain

[5] A mitre is a folding hat, made up of two equal, cone shaped parts that rise to a divided peak at the top, the two parts being joined at the base by a cap of soft material to allow flat folding. Attached to the rim in the back are two lappets that hang down and are usually fringed. The mitre is worn by cardinals, bishops, abbots. (Ex. 39:26) Derived from the Catholic Encyclopedia by Broderick


[6] Arch-priest – In those days, it was a title conferred on one who took the place of the Bishop in civil affairs. Today the title would be Dean.

[7] Metanoia – Greek word for conversion

[8] Patriarch – comes from the Greek word meaning “ruler of a family.” A Patriarch was one who held jurisdiction over primates and metropolitans. In the Roman Church, patriarch is largely an honorary title. Today metoropolitans refer to eccliastical provinces composed of several neighboring dioceses, are each headed by a Metropolitan, the Archbishop of the Diocese designated by the Pope.

[9] Crosier – The “pastoral staff” is a symbol of office carried by the bishop - ordinary of a diocese. It is an ornamental staff, shaped like a shepherd’s crook, pointed at the lower end. It is usually made of metal tubing, and the crook portion is carved of wood, ivory, gold or silver, or ornamented.

[10] At the courtesy of http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/piusx.htm

[11] from Wikipedia.

[12]For more on the attacks the Church has faced and overcome, read Bob and Penny Lord’s “Scandal of the Cross and Its Triumph.”

[13] Vernacular – the spoken language of a people. A Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater

[14] New advent.org

[15] Courtesy of www.ewtn.com/library/library/mary/piusx.htm

[16] Courtesy of www.ewtn.com/library/library/mary/piusx.htm.

[17] Courtesy of www.ewtn.com/library/library/mary/piusx.htm.

[18] We have included both these Popes in this anthology of Popes.

[19] There is a chapter on St. Gregory the Great, in this book.

[20] www.newadvent.org/cathen

[21]Exegesis is the study whereby the investigation of Sacred Scripture is presented. In general it seeks through tradition, archaeology, history, and criticism to expound the true meaning of the Scriptures. The Catholic Encyclopedia by Broderick

[22] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_ Pius X

[23] Taken from Scandal of the Cross and Its Triumph by Bob & Penny Lord

[24] The Catholic Encyclopedia – Broderick

[25] Indifferentism – 1) Denial of the worship of God, arising from a willful failure to recognize the duty of man in matters of religion. 2) The turning away from religious practices, patterned on the early Gnostics, out of the mistaken consideration that all religions are “relatively” true. [more on this in Bob &Penny Lord’s book: Scandal of the Cross and its Triumph]

[26] Thomism is the system of scholastic thought developed by Thomas Aquinas. He developed a harmony of faith and reason, establishing man as an effective cause in the doctrine of creation, and presented this in his monumental work, Summa Theologica. Thomism as a system is recognized and imposed by Church law.

[27] Of his own accord

[28]By the very nature of things, the Church has consequently become the guardian and protector of Christian society. That fact was universally recognized and admitted in other periods of history. In truth, it formed a solid foundation for civil legislation. On that very fact rested the relations between Church and State; the public recognition of the authority of the Church in those matters which touched upon conscience in any manner, the subordination of all the laws of the State to the Divine laws of the Gospel; the harmony of the two powers in securing the temporal welfare of the people in such a way that their eternal welfare did not suffer.” Vatican.va

[29] occupied the seat of Peter from 1939-1958



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